The number of bogus HMRC communications rose during the last tax year. According to HMRC’s own statistics, it received around 900,000 reports of potential scams. However, this could be the tip of the iceberg as many scams go unreported.
Here are some of the most common HMRC scams which you and your staff need to be aware of:
Out of the blue phone calls. Although HMRC does make contact by phone regarding overdue tax, the call is unlikely to come out of the blue. You’ll usually already be aware that you owe tax because you will have received a string of final demands by letter. A sudden call which you are not expecting should be viewed as suspicious.
Texts – if you receive a text message purporting from HMRC be very wary. HMRC will never ask for personal or financial information by text so this should be a red flag. Also, do not open any links contained in a text.
Correspondence – Letters and emails trip up many people. They can often look convincing and even include genuine HMRC logos. Typically, they will include links to refund or payment web pages. Don’t fall victim to these phishing scams. Educate your staff to avoid opening any attachments or links to web pages.
If you spot a possible tax scam, you can report it to HMRC. If it is genuine correspondence from the tax office, they will soon let you know! And if it proves to be a scam, they can investigate and take action.