A rise in HMRC scams has been reported across the West Midlands, with police urging people to “be on their guard” against scammers posing as HMRC officials.
According to police, in the course of two weeks there have been 45 separate reports of residents being contacted and told to hand over money, or face arrest for tax evasion.
The scammers have reportedly pocketed just over £26,000 through the fraud.
The West Midlands Police are now calling on residents to be “wary” of suspicious phone calls or emails, and urging people to “never respond to messages asking for personal or financial details, including requests to send images that prove your identity”.
In addition, people are being warned to not click on links or attachments in suspicious emails, alongside a reminder that HMRC will never text, email or phone you “out of the blue” asking for bank details, PINs or passwords.
Kloe Burrows, from the Economic Crime Unit in the West Midlands Police, said: “There’s been a recent rise in scammers targeting residents with the false claim they owe money and risk arrest.
“These con-artists are preying on the understandable fear and concern this would cause to then pocket hundreds or thousands of pounds from their victims.”
She added: “An official organisation would not contact you out of the blue and demand you share personal or financial details without appropriate security measures in place.”