THE HM revenue & customs has warned self assessment customers to avoid being caught out by scammers ahead of the annual tax return deadline on 31 January 2021.
HMRC informed that many scams target customers to inform them of a fake ‘tax rebate’ or ‘tax refund’ they are due. They use language intended to convince them to hand over personal information, including bank details, in order to claim the ‘refund’.
Criminals will use this information to access customers’ bank accounts, trick them into paying fictitious tax bills, or sell on their personal information to other criminals, it warns.
“We know that criminals take advantage of the Self Assessment deadline to panic customers into sharing their personal or financial details and even paying bogus ‘tax due’,” said Karl Khan, HMRC’s interim director general for customer services.
“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.”
The HMRC has responded to more than 846,000 referrals of suspicious contact from the public and reported over 15,500 malicious web pages to internet service providers to be taken down in the last 12 months.
Around 500,000 of the referrals from the public offered bogus tax rebates.
Pauline Smith, head of action fraud, said: “It’s important to remember if you’re contacted by someone purporting to be from HMRC asking for your personal or financial details, or offering you a tax rebate, grant or refund, this could be a scam. Do not respond, hang up the phone, and take care not to click on any links in unexpected emails or text messages. You should contact HMRC directly using a phone number you’ve used before to check if the communication you have received is genuine.”
People can report suspicious activity at [email protected] and texts to 60599. Phone scams can be reported on GOV.UK.