Bogus emails and now, bogus phone calls

10 November 2017

The “phishing” emails and bogus phone calls by nefarious individuals, purporting to be from HMRC, seem to have increased considerably recently.

There is currently a targeted campaign by telephone in our area, either in person or as a recorded message, warning people that HMRC are taking legal action against them as they believe they have committed fraud going back 10 years (or something to that effect).

The calls where there is actually someone on the end of the phone can be very intimidating and as you can imagine the people on the other end are not necessarily very pleasant at times. The caller encourages the alleged offending taxpayer to settle the bill during the phone call.

We know that fraudsters typically contact victims in three ways:

  • Voicemails: Fraudsters are leaving victims automated voicemails saying that they owe HMRC unpaid taxes. When victims call back on the number provided, they are told that there is a warrant out in their name and if they don’t pay, the police will arrest them.
  • Spoofed calls: Fraudsters are cold calling victims using a spoofed number and convincing them that they owe unpaid tax to HMRC.
  • Text messages: Fraudsters are sending text messages that require victims to urgently call back on the number provided. When victims call back, they are told that there is a case being built against them for an outstanding debt and they must pay immediately. 

How to protect yourself:

  • HMRC will never use texts to tell you about a tax rebate or penalty or ever ask for payment in this way.
  • Telephone numbers and text messages can easily be spoofed. You should never trust the number you see on your telephone display.
  • If you receive a suspicious cold call, end it immediately.

You can also report a fraud and receive a police crime reference number, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. Be on your guard but if you are concerned do not hesitate to call your usual Old Mill contact.

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