Taxpayers urged to be vigilant ahead of self-assessment deadline
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is warning millions of Self-Assessment customers to be aware of fraudsters in the run up to the 31 January deadline.
In the past year, HMRC received almost 900,000 reports from the public about suspicious HMRC contact – phone calls, texts or emails. More than 100,000 were phone scams and there were over 620,000 reports from the public about bogus tax rebates.
The most common techniques fraudsters use include phoning taxpayers offering a fake tax refund, or pretending to be HMRC by texting or emailing a link which will take customers to a false page, where their bank details and money will be stolen. Fraudsters are also known to threaten victims with arrest or imprisonment if a bogus tax bill is not paid immediately.
HMRC operates a dedicated Customer Protection team to identify and close down scams but is advising customers to recognise the signs to avoid becoming victims.
Genuine organisations like HMRC and banks will never contact customers asking for their PIN, password or bank details and people should never give out private information, reply to text messages, download attachments or click on links in texts or emails which they are not expecting.
HMRC are urging people to take action by forwarding details of suspicious calls or emails claiming to be from HMRC to firstname.lastname@example.org and texts to 60599. Customers who have suffered financial loss should contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040, or use their online fraud reporting tool.
There’s more information on GOV.UK about how to avoid and report scams and recognise genuine HMRC contact.
The information was correct at time of publishing but may now be out of date.