HMRC has issued a warning to people completing self assessment returns stating they should be on “alert” for fraudsters who are pretending to be from the tax authority.
HMRC stated that many scams target customers via phone calls or text messages to inform them of a “fake tax rebate” or “tax refund” they are due. The imposters are believed to use language intended to convince victims to hand over personal information, including bank details, in order to claim back money.
They will then use this information to access customers’ bank accounts, trick them into paying fictitious tax bills, or sell their personal information to other fraudsters.
It comes as the tax authority revealed it has responded to over 846,000 referrals of suspicious HMRC contact from the public in the last 12 months, and reported over 15,500 malicious web pages to internet service providers to be taken down.
Almost 500,000 of the referrals from the public were regarding bogus tax rebates.
HMRC’s interim director general for customer services, Karl Khan, said that the tax authority knows “criminals take advantage” of the self assessment deadline to panic customers into sharing their “personal or financial details” and even paying “bogus tax due.”
He added: “If someone calls, emails or texts claiming to be from HMRC, offering financial help or asking for money, it might be a scam. Please take a moment to think before parting with any private information or money.”