Common techniques that fraudsters use to target taxpayers include e-mails and text messages offering refunds with clickable links leading to ‘phishing’ websites, and pre-recorded messages allegedly from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) claiming that action is being taken to recover unpaid tax.
HMRC has confirmed that, over the past year, it has received around 900,000 reports from members of the public about suspicious HMRC contact, with more than 100,000 of these being phone scams and over 620,000 episodes concerning bogus tax rebates.
Mike Haley, CEO of Cifas, said: “With the self-assessment tax return deadline fast approaching, it’s easy to see how fraudsters can take advantage of taxpayers rushing to pay their tax bill, and especially if they’re being threatened with legal action out of the blue.”
Haley added: “If you’re contacted by someone claiming to be from HMRC then don’t respond. Remember never to give out any personal details, download attachments or click on links. If you receive an e-mail or text then report it to HMRC immediately so they can take the appropriate action to help prevent others losing their cash to criminals.”
*If you’re unsure that the communication you’ve received from the HMRC really is legitimate you can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org