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HMRC scam: Calls threatening legal action

YOU can’t imagine hearing anything more alarming at the other end of the phone than HMRC threatening you with a law suit.

But that is happening to businesses and individuals in the area, particularly older people, who have unfortunately become the target of unscrupulous conmen. While the scam has been widely reported over the last few weeks it appears that it is still in operation.

With the bogus callers likely to be encouraging people to provide them with personal information, it is vital that you are on guard at all times, remembering that you should not provide personal details over the phone unless you can verify the identity of the person calling.  But do be aware that HMRC do genuinely make phone calls to taxpayers, so not all calls are fraudulent!

In this example, the call is a recorded message stating that HMRC is bringing legal action against the individual. The target is asked to phone a number and press ‘1’ to speak to the Inspector dealing with the case.

Hundreds of these types of calls have been made in recent weeks according to Action Fraud, the national fraud and cyber-crime reporting centre, so it's important that to ensure you take steps to protect yourself and if you run a business that you alert your staff.

HMRC advises people to take security very seriously so report misleading websites, emails, phone numbers, phone calls or text messages that you think may be suspicious.

Anyone who receives a call is urged to report these incidents on the Action Fraud website, or you can call them on 0300 123 2040 (charged at your normal network rate).

Here are some tips to avoid being scammed:

  • Don’t give out private information (such as bank details or passwords), reply to text messages, download attachments or click on any links in emails if you’re not sure they’re genuine.
  • Forward any emails to phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk or forward any texts to 60599 (network charges apply) before deleting them.
  • Do not open any links contained within emails or text messages as they may contain malicious software or direct you to a bogus website.
  • To learn more about dealing with phishing and scams visit www.gov.uk
7 Sep 17
Colin Tice