HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is calling on Self-Assessment taxpayers to keep a look out for scammers posing as the tax authority.
HMRC has said that scammers are using calls, emails and texts to contact individuals in the run-up to the tax return deadline on 31 January 2021.
During the last year, HMRC responded to more than 846,000 reports of suspicious HMRC contact from the public and uncovered 15,500 malicious webpages.
In many cases, fraudsters offer a fake ‘tax rebate’ or ‘tax refund’ to individuals, often using language and content designed to convince taxpayers to hand over personal information, including bank details, to claim the ‘refund’. Almost 500,000 of the referrals from the public offered bogus tax rebates.
The imposters use this information to access a person’s bank account, trick them into paying fictitious tax bills or sell on their personal information to other criminals, HMRC has warned.
Taxpayers are encouraged to report suspicious activity to HMRC at firstname.lastname@example.org and texts to 60599. They can also report phone scams online on GOV.UK.
Alongside its warning, HMRC has said that taxpayers can usually spot a scam if the communication:
- is unexpected
- offers a refund, tax rebate or grant
- asks for personal information, such as bank details
- is threatening
- tells you to transfer money.