Recently, a number of people received scamming phone calls from what appears to be a genuine HMRC number. The Government department warns members of the public about the scam. They assure potential victims HMRC will never call without warning to ask for money.
Mainstream media, such as Sky News, reported last week on the recent fraud calls. Apparently, fraudsters clone HMRC phone numbers, usually 0300 200 3300. They tell people who pick up the call that the Government department issued a warrant for their arrest because of unpaid taxes. When the call receiver checks out the phone number, it shows as genuine HMRC. However, that is not the reality behind the whole situation.
HMRC informs the public via social media
The department released a number of posts on social media to inform and diffuse panic.
We’ve been made aware fraudsters are spoofing legitimate HMRC phone lines asking for money. We will never call out of the blue asking for payments. If you’re in doubt, put the phone down, call us back or report to email@example.com pic.twitter.com/ILY6tmJc4Y
— HM Revenue & Customs (@HMRCgovuk) November 2, 2018
As stated above, HMRC “will never call out of the blue to ask for payments”. If you haven’t paid your taxes fully or they suspect you haven’t declared all your income, they send out letters. The process completes by the taxpayer calling the department to arrange for a payment agreement or pay any money due.
If you’ve received a voicemail or automated call from ‘HMRC’ claiming a lawsuit is being brought against you, this is a scam. Please do not comply. pic.twitter.com/FA6gVPid3t
— HM Revenue & Customs (@HMRCgovuk) November 1, 2018
No notifications will be sent by email
Also, another fact worth knowing is how the department communicates via email. As they clarify in a document published earlier this year, HMRC “will never send notifications by email about tax rebates or refunds.”
The document also warns email receivers not to open any links in such inbox messages. Phishing emails, these try to steal the receiver’s personal data, such as credit card or login details. The Government also lists the various possible senders featured in such phishing emails.
If you ever receive such phone calls or emails, inform the department. You can support the investigation to stop the fraudsters.