HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) have issued warnings over Twitter messages claiming to be from HMRC.
These messages are auto generated in huge numbers and claim the recipient is under investigation by HMRC.
There’s a phone number or email contact for the recipient to contact for further information and those calls and emails go to a contact centre manned by scammers.
HMRC Advice on How to Avoid Scams
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.
Stay safe – Don’t give out private information, reply to text messages, download attachments or click on links in emails you weren’t expecting.
Take action – 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 their online fraud reporting tool.
Contact HMRC directly.
HMRC have said that it is the elderly and vulnerable people who are generally targeted.
If you can’t verify the identity of the caller, do not speak to them – put the phone down.
HMRC say they do call people about outstanding tax bills, and sometimes use automated messages, but they always include your taxpayer reference number and the messages are not threatening.
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Scammers target vulnerable and elderly in cold call tax voucher fraud, warns HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
HMRC say that scammers call the victims and impersonate an HMRC member of staff.
“They tell them that they owe large amounts of tax which they can only pay off through digital vouchers and gift cards, including those used for Apple’s iTunes Store”.
Victims are then told to go to a local shop, buy these vouchers and then read out the redemption code to the scammer who has kept them on the phone the whole time.
The conmen then sell on the codes or purchase high-value products, at the victim’s expense.
HMRC said the scammers frequently use intimidation to get what they want, threatening to seize the victim’s property or involve the police.
The scammers use vouchers because they are easy to sell on and hard to trace once used.
HMRC would never request the settling of debt through any such method.
The vast majority of the victims are aged over 65 and suffered an average financial loss of £1,150 each.
As these scammers often prey on vulnerable people. HMRC urge people with elderly relatives to warn them about this scam and remind them that they should never trust anyone who phones them out of the blue and demands they pay a tax bill.
If you suspect that you or a vulnerable or elderly relative has been the victim of this scam or a similar one, you should report it immediately to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
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