Lots of scammers impersonate HMRC to call or text or email with messages about your needing to make instant payment against the amount you owe HMRC in unpaid taxes.
This new version of the scam involves automated calling systems, cloning of phone numbers and a call centre of criminals.
E.g. You receive an automated call (or maybe its recorded on your answer phone)
The message states that an arrest warrant had been issued under your name and you should press “1” to speak to the case officer or maybe the message directs you to call a specific number.
If you press or call the number you are put through to a call centre of scammers and you will be pressurised to make immediate payment to avoid being arrested.
The payment is likely to be iTunes vouchers. This may seem an odd choice, but once purchased – you just need to tell them the ID number for the vouchers and they can make use of them.
Obviously HMRC do not really accept payment in vouchers so this should warn any potential victims, but some people do pay up without thinking or checking.
The number is usually displayed on a person’s phone as 0300 2003300 – the official number of HMRC. On some phones, when the call comes through “HMRC” appears on their screen as if that is the genuine caller.
However, while the number appears to be a genuine it is in fact from fraudsters looking to trick unsuspecting victims out of their money.
Don’t assume anyone who has contacted you is who they say they are. If an email, phone call or text message asks you to make a payment, log in to an online account or offers you a deal, verify whether it’s real or just a clever scam.
How to Stay Safe Against These Scams
- Recognise the signs – Genuine organisations, such as banks and HMRC, will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your PIN, password or bank details
- Do not give out private information, reply to text messages, download attachments or click on links in emails you weren’t expecting
- Forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to email@example.com and texts to 60599, or contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 to report any suspicious calls or use its online fraud reporting tool
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