Tag: hmrc

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 phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk 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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HMRC Warn of Tax Threat Calls

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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