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HMRC - Scam Alert

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Alert: Fraudsters claiming to be from HMRC

Following a reported incident from a local Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator who received a cold call purporting to be from HM Revenue and Customs stating that court proceedings were being taken regarding a Tax Debt and directing the person to press 1 on the phone key pad to speak to the Police for confirmation we are issuing the following advice:

  • Fraudsters are again contacting persons including the elderly and vulnerable claiming to be from HM Revenue & Customs.

  • Victims are being told they have arrest warrants, legal writs, outstanding debts or unpaid taxes in their name.

  • The fraudsters are asking victims to purchase iTunes gift cards as payment or requesting bank card details, account information.

  • There are a variety of methods being used including calls, texts and voicemails.

We are warning people once again of scammers contacting victims claiming to be from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) that trick people into paying bogus debts and taxes.

Victims are being contacted in a variety of methods by fraudsters claiming to be from HMRC and are being told they owe an outstanding debt. In most cases they ask for payment in iTunes gift card voucher codes or by asking for bank account / card details etc.

Fraudsters like iTunes gift cards to collect money from victims because they can be easily redeemed and easily sold on. The scammers donít need the physical card to redeem the value and instead get victims to read out the serial code on the back over the phone.

Methods fraudsters use:

Spoofed calls: Fraudsters cold call victims using a spoofed number and convince them that they owe unpaid tax to HMRC.

Voicemails: Fraudsters leave victims automated voicemails saying that they owe HMRC unpaid taxes. When victims call back on the number provided, they are told that there is a warrant out in their name and if they donít pay, the police will arrest them.

Text messages: They may also use text messages that ask victims to urgently call back on the number provided. When victims call back, they are told that there is a case being built against them for an outstanding debt.

How to protect yourself:

  • HMRC will never use texts to tell you about a tax rebate or penalty or ever ask for payment in this way.
  • Telephone numbers and text messages can easily be spoofed. You should never trust the number you see on your telephones display.
  • If you receive a suspicious cold call, end it immediately.
  • Remember - HMRC will only make contact by official letter.

If you have been a victim please contact Police on 101, Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 if you would prefer to remain anonymous.

NWS Team



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