We have recently been made aware of various ‘HMRC’ tax scams including emails and texts suggesting that an individual is due a refund. They appear genuine on the basis that they often contain HMRC’s logo and official style reference numbers. However, such emails and texts will always be scams since HMRC never contacts customers who are due a refund by email or text, they only make contact by letter.
Similarly, customers have been receiving calls from an automated caller claiming to be from HMRC threatening legal action if they don’t pay what they allegedly owe. To make matters worse, calls often come from a number which appears similar to an HMRC one, and in some cases victims have said scammers have ‘cloned’ an HMRC number so that HMRC’s actual number appears on the screen. However just as with emails or texts, HMRC will never call you up out of the blue and tell you that you owe money and will only ever call asking for payment on a debt that you are already aware of.
HMRC has issued the following guidance to stop people getting caught out:
1.Recognise the signs. Genuine organisations like banks and HMRC will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your PIN, password or bank details.
2.Stay safe. Don’t give out private information, reply to text messages, download attachments or click on links in emails you weren’t expecting.
3.Take action. Forward suspicious emails and details of calls claiming to be from HMRC to firstname.lastname@example.org and texts to 60599, or contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 if you suffer financial loss.