Fraudsters are continuing to target taxpayers with scam emails, texts and calls following the deadline for submission of Self-Assessment returns for 2020-21. In fact, over the last year, HMRC received more than 570,000 reports about suspicious HMRC contacts.
A number of these scams purport to tell taxpayers they are due a fake tax rebate or tax refund from HMRC and ask for bank or credit card details in order to send the fake tax refund. The fraudsters use various means to try and scam people including making contact by phone calls, texts or emails. In fact, fraudsters have been known to threaten victims with arrest or imprisonment if a bogus tax bill is not paid immediately.
HMRC’s has a dedicated Customer Protection team to identify and close down scams. The team seeks to identify suspect emails before they reach the taxpayer. Since 2017, these technical controls have prevented 500 million emails from reaching taxpayers, but the problems continue as the fraudsters adapt and try new methods to evade capture.
Taxpayers should also try and recognise the signs of fraud to avoid becoming victims themselves. For example, genuine organisations like HMRC and banks will never contact customers asking for their PIN, password or bank details.
If you think you have received a suspicious email claiming to be from HMRC you are asked to forward the details to firstname.lastname@example.org. Suspect texts should be sent to 60599 and there is a form on GOV.UK that can be used to report suspicious phone calls. If you have suffered financial loss, you should contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use their online fraud reporting tool.