Don’t be a victim of the latest HMRC-related scam

It’s that time of year when you have just completed and filed your tax return and paid up on what you owe. Unfortunately, that means that it is also the time when there is an increase in phishing scams via email and social media, some of which can look genuine. We have had a few of those brought to our attention already and it prompted us to raise awareness of the most common ones to make sure you do not fall victim to any of them. HMRC itself has taken the unusual step of raising awareness as well, even including images of what some of those scams look like. Full details can be found on HMRC’s website, but read on for a quick summary of what to look out for and what to do if you receive a message.

Email scams

HMRC will never send out information regarding tax rebates via email. If you receive such an email you can be sure that it is a phishing scam. While HMRC will contact you by email from time to time, they will never ask you to click through to a website or disclose information that is personal or related to payments.

What to do: don’t visit any website links embedded within the email, forward it to HMRC, and then delete it.

Text alerts

As with emails, HMRC may occasionally get in touch by text. Similarly with emails, they will not ask for any personal or financial information and any text that is offering you a tax refund, especially if they are asking for any sensitive details, is a scam.

What to do: don’t click on any links, forward details about it to HMRC, and delete the message.

Social media

One of the most recent scams that HMRC has highlighted is the offer of a tax rebate via Twitter. HMRC would never directly contact someone using a social media account, so you can be sure that this is a phishing scam.

What to do: don’t engage and forward details to HMRC.

Phone calls

Aimed at elderly and vulnerable people in particular, this scam involves a fraudster calling to offer a tax refund and asking you to disclose sensitive personal or financial information. A similar scam will tell you that HMRC is suing you, but if you pay now it can all be settled.

What to do: don’t take the call any further and forward details to HMRC.

Other scams

Other types of scams include:

  • Requests to complete NRL1 forms to be faxed back
  • Customs-related requests for payment in exchange for the release of goods
  • Tax rebates via refund companies allegedly working on behalf of HMRC
  • Requests to download and complete PDF attachments to receive tax rebates

What to do: don’t engage and forward details to HMRC

How to let HMRC know

While they are aware of the various scams, things do change and it also helps them to be continually aware of what is going on. If you receive any contact that you are unsure of or recognise as a scam, forward details to where they keep a log of all such fraudulent contact.

For professional advice and assistance with tax and any other accounting needs, our team at Bells Inc. Hamilton Stewart is on hand to advise and assist. We are on 020 8763 1711 or at whenever you need us.