We have been made aware that Action Fraud have seen an increase in the reporting of scam calls and voicemails claiming to be from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
The fraudsters are spoofing genuine HMRC numbers, and they claim that the victim hasn’t paid tax and is liable for prosecution or other legal proceedings in order to settle the balance.
The offenders then attempt to arrange a payment to be made immediately as bank transfer, or by purchasing iTunes gift cards. If the victim is hesitant or refuses to comply, the suspect makes a threat that the person will be arrested or that a bailiff will be sent to their house. In some cases, they are threatened with deportation.
Often, the period for which the tax is allegedly due is distant enough to guarantee the victim will have little, if any, paperwork or ability to verify the claims. Once the money is paid, the suspects sever all contact with the victim.
Please be mindful that in genuine cases, HMRC will initially make direct contact with you via post or with a letter and potentially follow that up with a phone call at a later date.
If HMRC contact you via telephone, they will quote the reference number on the initial letter you should have received. HMRC will not discuss something you are not already aware of, like a tax investigation.
HMRC will also never demand an immediate payment.
Action Fraud are advising people to remember:
- just because someone knows your basic information, like name and contact details, doesn’t meant they are genuine
- legitimate organisations will never ask you to pay taxes, bills or fees using iTunes gift cards or any other voucher
- don’t be rushed or pressured to make an immediate payment on the spot; genuine and trusted organisation would never force you to do that
- if you believe you are being targeted by a phishing scam, report it to Action Fraud by visiting: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report-phishing
- if you want to verify a phone call you believe is a scam, DO NOT use the same line you received the call on as fraudsters have a way to stay on the line
For more information, visit www.actionfraud.police.uk