In these days of hackers, cybercrime and phishing scams we are all very aware of the risks online from scam artists intent on getting their hands on our money. But are we as vigilant when it comes to telephone contact? Apparently not!!
Fraudsters pretending to be from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) are expanding their unscrupulous activities after years of sending out fake emails to now calling unsuspecting victims and some are duping their targets into paying them thousands of pounds.
There is currently a telephone scam where a recorded message is left, allegedly from HMRC, stating that HMRC are bringing a lawsuit against the individual and is going to sue them. The recipient is asked to phone 0161 8508494 and press “1” to speak to the officer dealing with the case. This scam is becoming widely reported and seems to be targeting older people. Please do not reply to the message – ever!!
HERE are some tips from HMRC on how to avoid being taken in by the fraudsters:
Recognise the signs – Genuine organisations like banks and HMRC will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your PIN, password or bank details.
Stay safe – Don’t give out private information, reply to text messages, download attachments or click on links in emails you weren’t expecting.
Take action – Forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to firstname.lastname@example.org and texts to 60599, or contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 to report any suspicious calls or use their online fraud reporting tool.
Check – If you think you have received an HMRC related phishing/bogus email or text message, you can check it against the examples shown in this guide.
Contact HMRC directly – You can find the list of genuine numbers to call HMRC here.
If you are uncertain of the caller, hang up and call HMRC directly to check – you cannot be too careful, or contact your accountant who will be more than happy to speak to HMRC on your behalf.