Tag: hmrc

Time-Wasters Update

Do you want a $100 bill coated in 24 K gold – for free? Sounds too good to be true, because it is a scam of course. But that’s the message in a flood of emails – you have to give the scammer your name, email address and physical address to get the money. There is no money of course, gold plated or otherwise  – all you would get is your name and details added to the suckers list that is passed around between scammers, then you would be flooded with other scams. Golden money is a nice idea though.

An email from Amazon tells me my Prime account is due for resubscription but my credit card details are out of date and I must update them or face the loss of my Prime account. The email isn’t really from Amazon of course as I don’t have a Prime account. It’s from mvv.fox.gzpprquetuqaq.com which is obviously not Amazon. If I clicked the link it would take me to a fake website made to look like Amazon and it’s job is to get people’s login and passwords as these sell for a high price.

Another email claiming we owe some business an amount of money. This one says she has tried repeatedly to get in touch with us and we have to pay up or she will start legal proceedings. However, there is no company name, just her title of book-keeper and she addresses us as Dear customer giving away that she has no idea who the email has gone to and has likely been sent to millions of email addresses.   A sad pathetic scammer.

Yet another HMRC grant offer arrives – fake of course. It has an attachment that the scammer wants you to open. No thanks – keep your malware. Strangely this email contains a reference “All content is licensed under Open Government Licence v3.0”. That licence does exist and lets people repeat a government message, but is not relevant in this case as the sender is a scammer not a media outlet informing people of something worthwhile.

Chen Susheng says he came across my name on Linkedin and has something very important to tell me – I just have to reply to his message to find out. It’s simple scam – just trying to find out which email owners are dumb enough to reply to an obviously fake message from someone they have never heard of. Do not reply to people you do not know.

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The HMRC Grant Scam

There are lots of scams where the criminals offer tax rebates or threaten fines for outstanding tax etc but this new set offer a grant instead.

You are eligible for a grant”.

“Simply download the attached form and fill in the required information”.

 It then goes on about using the grant money to start a new trade or hire more staff or buy equipment or pay for training – seems to be a general use grant for any purpose.

Sounds nice but is obviously a scam. Government bodies don’t give away money for unspecified purposes.

Plus, the sender’s email address is not HMRC but nicehealthy.rest which is presumably from a previous scam and “.rest” is meant to be used for restaurants.

A simple scam to catch out the unwary.

Never download such attachments to see what they are – they will likely contain malware that attacks your computer and/or your data.

If you have any experiences with scammers, spammers or time-waster do let me know, by email.

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The Most Common Phone Scams

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau estimate that around one third of all fraud is carried out by telephone.

The most common phone scams are:-

  1. Computer Support Scam
  2. A Fraud Investigation
  3. An Investment Opportunity

e.g. A phone call telling you that your computer has a problem or is being used by hackers or has been sending out spam emails or anything similar will worry people and then the scammer claims to have the solution. The scammer normally poses as a worker at Microsoft or Virgin Broadband or Apple or BT or similar well known company. The caller offers a solution to the problem – at a price of course. If allowed access to your company they will steal whatever confidential information they can get.

Computer support companies will never phone you like this.

Fraud investigation scams calls are usually made by scammers claiming to be HMRC or Metropolitan Police or the FBI.  They talk about some kind of threat or illegal activity, but the authorities never make such calls. The scammers want to frighten you then force you to pay a fine.

Callers offering investment opportunities are wide ranging and always scams as no reputable investment business would cold call people they know nothing about. Never trust a caller’s sales pitch without verifying it.

If you have any experiences with scammers, spammers or time-waster do let me know, by email.

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HMRC Arrest Warrant Scam

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

  1. 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
  2. Do not give out private information, reply to text messages, download attachments or click on links in emails you weren’t expecting
  3. Forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to [email protected] 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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