I have previously reported in these pages on the various e-mail scams purporting to come from HMRC and other finance bodies. These continue to be an issue and you should always be wary of unexpected e-mails. This is especially true if they come with the promise of a refund being due to you if you just click on a link.

But a new approach by fraudsters has recently come to my attention. They are now making threatening phone calls in the hope of frightening people into handing over cash. One such scam involves an automated message stating “This is Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs. We have been trying to reach you to let you know we are filing a law suit against you.” An alternative version, received by a client of mine told him that they were “watching his house”. They then either give you a list of options such as speak to a case officer or tell you to call them back on a number they give you.

In all cases, these calls try to give the impression that the recipient will be in big trouble if they don’t respond immediately. This is intended to create a sense of panic in the hope that they will react without thinking the situation through.  Needless to say, if you do respond then the scammers will seek to extract funds from you. It is not unheard of for them to ask for payments to be made using iTunes gift cards or other vouchers as such payment methods are harder
to trace.

If in doubt, you should always call HMRC up on a number you have yourself. If you genuinely owe money to HMRC, then an appropriate contact number will appear on all letters they send to you. Alternatively, contact numbers for all taxes can be found here. www.gov.uk/contact-hmrc

 

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