ITS APPROACHING that time of year when taxpayers start thinking about their self assessment returns and tax refunds. This is also the perfect time for fraudsters to target unsuspecting taxpayers and try to con them out of their hard earned money.
In today’s Shipleys Tax brief we look at the most common tactic which you should be aware of and will hopefully protect you from fraudsters.
This involves receiving an automated text or voice message or call purporting to be from HMRC saying you are under a criminal investigation. We recommend you do NOT reply – this is most likely to be a scam. HMRC will never contact you by phone without giving you an official notice in writing.
This is not a new scam but rears its ugly head every year. Often a recorded message is left, allegedly from HMRC, that starts: “This is Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs. We have been trying to reach you to let you know that we are filing a law suit against you/you have a tax refund due.”
The recipient is then asked to phone 0XXXX XXXXXXX and press “1” to speak to the officer dealing with the case. Do not to reply to this message as they will then try to extract money from you or more likely the call will be an extortionate rate number.
Some basic things you can do to protect yourself.
Tip 1 – If the caller can’t verify their identity, you should never disclose any personal details.
Tip 2 – If they have given you “contact” details (and they should have no hesitation in doing so), call HMRC on their contact number to check if it is a genuine officer or a scam. You should never proceed without verifying this.
Tip 3 – If you receive either of these scam calls, report it on the Action Fraud website or you can call 0300 123 2040. You can forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to email@example.com and texts to 60599.
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If you are under a Tax or VAT Investigation and would like a specialist to review your case for free, please call 0114 275 6292 and book an appointment with our Tax Investigations Team or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that Shipleys Tax do not give free advice by email or telephone.