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.

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