Protect yourself against fraudsters and beware of the latest HMRC scams. Listen to what this sounds like, so you know what to look out for and can make sure to avoid being a vulnerable target!
“The issue at hand is extremely time sensitive,” the pre-recorded message says. “If you do not call us back or we do not hear from your solicitors, either, then get ready to face the legal consequences.”
Nearly one million people have been targeted by scams like this, so make sure you’re ready!
Listen to the scam in action
You can hear a clip of the call below:
Any real issues with your taxes likely won’t be brought up over the phone, particularly in this manner. So, you can rest assured if you get a call from HMRC, it’s most likely a scam.
Common aspects of the scam
Scammers will ring you up (or leave a message) pretending to be from HMRC. Some claim you owe tax and that, if you don’t pay up immediately, you’ll face a legal battle with the potential to end up in prison. They’re hoping that putting on the pressure will make you pay without thinking. For example, a fraudster tried to con one of the Financial Times editorial team out of £2,350!
Other HMRC scams say you’re entitled to a tax rebate but, in order to receive the rebate, they’ll need your bank details and…well, you can probably guess what happens next.
And it’s not just calls. There are countless examples of dodgy emails and texts from people claiming to be from HMRC and, as scammers are getting ever-more sophisticated, they’re getting harder to spot!
What to do if you receive a HMRC scam call/message
If you receive a call claiming to be from the HMRC, search the phone number on the HMRC’s official website. If the number doesn’t come up, it’s probably a scam.
Scammers often attempt to instill a sense of urgency in victims to make them slip up. The real HMRC will not make threats over the phone, legal or otherwise, that require immediate action.
UK residents can report scam phone numbers to Action Fraud. HMRC scams in particular can be emailed to the agency’s phishing team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wherever you report the call, you’ll need to include:
- caller’s phone number
- date of the call
- brief description of the call
Keep up-to-date on all the latest scams by browsing our ‘rip-off Britain’ section here.