Category Archives: HMRC Scam

The dangerous rise of the HMRC scam

Just got a call from HMRC stating you owe them money? We have noticed an extraordinary increase of reports concerning HMRC calls, be aware these type of calls are known as HMRC scam.

How does the HMRC scam work? What if its actually the HMRC calling me?

The scam mostly consists in an automated phone call with a prerecorded voice letting you know that you are under investigation from HMRC over an unpaid bill. The message threatens people of taking serious legal actions against them, even claiming that their house is under surveillance. The target is asked to contact urgently a phone number usually based in London, otherwise serious legal consequences will occur.

HMRC Scam related tweets

When calling back the phone number given,  the interlocutor (generally an indian) is particularly threatening. They always follow the same long script regarding the target’s alleged debt. The worried victims are then persuade into settling the debt immediately by disclosing their credit card details.

More recently, this scam has taken a new turn with the increase of fake text messages claiming to be HMRC and offering cash rebates. A link to a dangerous website is often attached to the text. Accessing the website can result in the spread of malware and the leak of the victim’s personal information.

Persistent and ruthless, the scammers appear to be harassing more and more people. Although the messages appears to be sent randomly, vulnerable people such as the elderly are the obvious targets of this scam. HMRC have asked people to warn their elderly relatives about this scam.

call centre

If you receive a suspicious message of this kind, never give out your personal details. Tell the caller you will report the incident to the authorities and immediately end the call. It is advised to block the number to prevent further contact.

How can I spot and protect myself from HMRC scams?

Anti Fraud tools

Use HMRC anti-fraud tools. You can consult HMRC official Help page to help you identify and prevent phishing phone calls and emails. If you think that you may be a potential victim of this scam, you can find examples or scamming emails and text messages that you can check against.

Let’s be honest, it’s very unlikely that HMRC will call you to let you know you are due some money. If you owe money they will let you know by letter or in their official website.

Stay vigilant and be realistic

Learn how to recognise a scam call or text from a genuine contact. Text messages are NEVER used to contact people who are due a tax refund. Automated messages are sometimes used by HMRC about outstanding tax bills, however the Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) will always be mentioned. HMRC will never ask you out personal information out of the blue, such as PIN, password or banking details. Settling of debts can never be processed through such a method.

Or.. just block these calls automatically

Download our CallBlocker app for Iphone and Android and we will block these calls for you. You can also help others by reporting your experience with these type of phone numbers.

Still curious and want to know what happens when you call them back? Have a look at this recorded call.

Join the fight!

HMRC is actively battling against these threats and urging people to report such incidents. Forward suspicious emails to phishing[at]hmrc.gsi.gov.uk and texts to 60599.

Most common scam calls reported in the UK

Recently increasing, scam calls and messages are, on top of being a real annoyance, a concerning danger for your privacy. Thanks to the participation of our active community, we have created this guide to help you stay updated and safe against these threats.

For any of the cases described below, please follow our advise in order to deal with these calls and report your experience by reporting the call in our website to help other users like you.

Silent call scam

Have you ever run multiple times a day to your phone and fail to pick up on time because it only rang couple times? Or get a call that goes straight to silent when you pick up? Frustrating right?! You are probably a victim of what we call a Silent call scam.

This technique is designed to make you miss the calls systematically, inciting you to call back to an international or premium rate number, which is going to cost you a lot of money!

Silent Call scam

What should I do? Ignore it! Don’t pick up unknown numbers and let them go straight to voicemail. Genuine callers are likely to leave a message, scammers will not.

Car Accident Claims scam

“Have you recently been involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault?” Sounds familiar?! You probably already have experienced the frustration of these harassing calls that are not making much sense, wrongly claiming that you had a car crash in the past few years.

Targeting the entire population, the scammers hope to randomly find persons who actually had a car crash, and fool them by pretending that they are eligible to a compensation. The target victims are urged to communicate their banking details to process the claim.

What should I do? Hung up immediately! Do not waste more of your time. If ever you had a recent accident, real insurance companies dealing with this kind of claims will NEVER cold call you this way.

Computer and telecommunications related scam

This type of scam has been particularly increasing recently. The caller will claim to be from your phone/internet provider or a Microsoft technician, and allege that your line or system is either having issues, being compromised, or infected by a virus.

The fake technician will ask for your information to create a problem that was not there before and offer you a repair that will obviously cost you a large amount of money. Sometimes we have detected these fake tech support scammers are taking the users to a fake website were they are asked to download an antivirus, which is actually a virus!

Phone hackers dont give any banking details

What should I do? Use your common sense! If you have no problems with your equipment and line, this call should already alarm you. In any case, your real provider will not ask your personal information over the phone. Be particularly vigilant when the caller has a foreign accent, as many scams of this kind have been reported to come from India.

Government organisations scam

Our community has recently massively reported such scams, particularly from callers pretended to be HMRC agents. A pre-recorded message will urge you to contact HMRC via a given number concerning legal actions carried out against you.

Calling back, the potential victims will be asked to communicate their banking details to settle a non-existent debt.

Unexpected phone bill

What should I do? Don’t panic! You probably already know that you are on top of your taxes bills. In this case, just ignore the message.

If you have a doubt, check the veracity of the call first by comparing the phone number to the official list provided by HMRC.

Lottery or prize scam

This scam usually consists in an automated call claiming that you won an important amount of money from entering a competition or winning a lottery, free supermarket vouchers or any kind of products.

Calling back the phone number given, the fraud can cost you money in different ways. The number given might be a Premium rate number charging you extra just for returning the call, and will often lead to a dead line. A scammer might also answer and ask your banking details to transfer the amount of money offered and sometimes, request a transfer fee.

Alternatively, you can receive text messages offering random gifts or money. A contact number will similarly be given, bringing the same issues previously described, or a link to a dangerous website that is likely to install a malware that will steal your private data, such as credit cards, passwords…

What should I do? Free money, really?! Such things are too good to be true. Ignore these calls and text messages that will end up costing you more money that they are supposed to bring.

HMRC scam

Other phishing calls and messages

The fraudsters can also call under the name of a genuine or a made-up company (bank, energy provider, random telemarketing company…) and pretend to call for general sales, financial advice or market research.

Stay vigilant! The final purpose of these calls is generally to steal personal information such as banking details. They sometimes already have some of your information, which does not mean that they are trustworthy.

What should I do? Hung up Immediately! NEVER say the word “Yes” as it could be recorded and used to authorise charging you on a bill.

Don’t forget to protect your mobile from the most dangerous phone numbers by downloading our CallBlocker app for Iphone and Android!