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Kirk Rice Blog

HMRC ScammersWritten on October 20, 2020 by Kirk Rice LLP

In the last few months we have become aware of a significant increase in fraudulent attempts to obtain information and even cash payments by ‘scammers’ claiming to be HMRC. A number of our clients have been contacted by various means in recent days, and we need to be sure you know how to respond to these

Never make a payment that we have not advised you to pay.

HMRC has also recently commented: ‘Scammers use a range of techniques, including phoning taxpayers and offering a bogus tax refund or threatening them with arrest if they don’t immediately pay the tax owed.

‘If someone calls you claiming to be from HMRC saying that you will be arrested, that we are filing a lawsuit against you or even that you are owed a tax refund, and asks for information such as your name, credit card or bank details, then it’s a scam.’

HMRC urges taxpayers to forward suspicious emails to phishing@hmrc.gov.uk and texts to 60599.

Examples of phishing and fraud attempts

Emails

We are aware of a phishing campaign telling customers they can claim a tax refund to help protect themselves from the coronavirus outbreak. There are also similar emails offering tax rebates/refunds. The email has been issued in various formats which look quite convincing.

HMRC will never send notifications by email about tax rebates or refunds. Do not reply to the email and do not open any links in the message.

SMS

We are aware of SMS messages suggesting that taxpayers are due a COVID-related ‘goodwill payment’ or a tax rebate, or that they have penalties for paying urgently. HMRC will NEVER request payment or details via SMS. The only SMS messages they send are reminders.

Telephone calls

Some of our clients have received automated or personal telephone calls requesting payments for supposed fines or tax liabilities. The caller can be quite aggressive or threatening, even suggesting that action will be taken, or fines will increase if payment is not made immediately.

HMRC never make such telephone calls. Please end these calls immediately.

WhatsAPP/Social Media

HMRC will never contact you via social media regarding your personal affairs.

Please do not make the requested payment, HMRC would not call, and request amount is such a fashion. Anyone receiving such a call should hang up the telephone and ignore the caller.

We can see that it is likely that there could be an increase in this type of telephone scam around this time of year as many people will have outstanding tax liabilities to settle. If you do receive such a telephone call, please know that you can always call one of our team or your authorised agent who will be able to check your outstanding liabilities with HMRC to give you peace of mind.

If you are one of our clients and think you have been contacted by HMRC scammers, please call your client manager urgently.

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