One of the favourite fraudster scams is back again. The HM Revenue & Customers (HMRC) Tax Scam is doing the rounds in readiness for tax returns being prepared.
HMRC scams come and go. I had a couple of scam email versions pop into my inbox in September. Those particular examples were of the type that uses an enticing “HMRC owes you £624.39 GBP”. Click here to claim your refund.
Of course, if you do ‘click here’ you will be taken to a spoof HMRC website which requests you enter your personal and financial details to process the claim.
If you do, your information will be stolen by a cybercriminal and used to commit fraud.
Other HMRC scams use WhatsApp messages and social media posts to offer tax refunds – these are all scams and HMRC do not use those methods to contact customers.
This week’s HMRC tax scam, is however, a little different. This time it’s a brazen phone call.
What is the latest HMRC Tax Scam about?
This particular HMRC Tax Scam is phone-based rather than email. The caller pretends to be a tax inspector calling from the tax office. The caller tells you that you owe tax, and if you do not pay immediately, an arrest warrant will be issued in your name. If you do not pick up, a message with the same threat will be left on your answer phone. The latter happened to me.
You may think, who would fall for that? But people do. In 2018-2019 there were 104,774 of these calls made. If the scammers only manage to trick a small % of those called, it’d be worth it.
If you receive a call that is supposedly from HMRC or any other government department that is threatening, chances are it’s a scam. The HMRC website has a lot of information about what they do and don’t do, and how to recognise HMRC scams.
It is likely that as tax time comes closer, more variants of the HMRC tax scam will appear. The fraudsters use every possible method to get you to click, download, or just give up your hard-earned cash. Do not let them trick you.
Why not help your colleagues stay safe and send them this little reminder. Feel free to edit, copy/paste the advice below:
HMRC Tax Scam 2019
Phone calls that pretend to be from HMRC are being used to attempt to scam people out of money. The caller will say they are chasing up owed tax and if you do not pay a given amount immediately you will be arrested. Beware, this is a scam.
IF YOU RECEIVE A CALL THAT YOU FEEL IS FRAUDULENT HANG UP IMMEDIATELY.
For more information on what to do if you receive a phishing email or other scam check out “What to Do if You Click on a Phishing Link?”