HMRC have recently issued a warning about bogus phone calls or e-mails from people pretending to be from HMRC. These messages can claim that you are due a tax refund or rebate, demand immediate payment for an unpaid tax bill, inform you that HMRC are filing a lawsuit against you and even threaten Police action.
If you cannot verify the identity of any person making such a call or sending you an e-mail, you should use the following advice:
- DO NOT disclose any personal or payment details
- DO NOT visit any links on the e-mail or message
- DO NOT open or download any attachments
HMRC WILL NEVER send you notifications by e-mail or SMS about tax refunds, rebates or demands.
The callers use a variety of phone numbers. To help HMRC with their investigations, please dial 1471 after the suspicious call (where possible) and make a note of the telephone number quoted (geographic charges may apply). If you have not already done so, please report full details of the scam by email to: email@example.com, including the:
- date and time of the suspicious call
- phone number given by 1471 – if possible
- customer’s telephone number
- brief description of the call
Your email address and phone number will be shared by HMRC with other organisations if that’s necessary to close down the scam.
You may also wish to consider contacting your telephone provider to request that any suspicious telephone numbers be investigated and blocked (not all companies provide this service and some may charge you for it).
HMRC provides additional security advice which can be found by following the link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/phishing-and-bogus-emails-hm-revenue-and-customs-examples
Phishing isn’t limited to bogus tax refunds or demands. The advice from HMRC applies equally to e-mails or phone calls from banks, building societies, credit cards, or websites where you may have an online account, eg. Amazon, PayPal, eBay, Netflix or even your telephone and utilities providers. If in any doubt, DO NOT give any of your details away.
Use Online Book Marks – if you do receive an e-mail from a company you regularly deal with, PLAY IT SAFE – DO NOT click on the link on the e-mail, but go to your online book mark and log into your account that way. Any messages from the provider will be on your account.
Already suffered a financial loss through Phishing
If you have suffered financial loss, you should report this to Action Fraud – the UK’s national fraud and cyber-crime reporting centre – you can call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 (Please note this number will be charged at your normal network rate). They open Monday to Friday, 09:00 – 18:00.
The online form can be accessed by visiting the following website: https://reporting.actionfraud.police.uk/reporting
Click Continue As Guest -> Tick ‘I Understand’ and Continue -> Click ‘a victim’ on the Start Reporting page -> Scroll down to ‘I can’t find the relevant option’ -> fill in the online form.
We hope that you find this information of use and that you have not already fallen victim to one of these scams.