Tax payers are being warned of a HMRC phone scam that could end with them losing thousands of pounds.
Fraudsters are posing as HMRC with automated phone calls in order to scam members of the public out of their money.
A number of people have reported receiving a call from a number claiming to be HMRC.
Victims are told they have a lawsuit filed against them for failure to pay their tax bill on time and urged to ‘press one’ on the automated call in order to speak to a member of HMRC staff.
Targets are then told that if they could be left with HMRC pursuing them for arrest relating to tax evasion and fraud.
In reality, victims are encouraged to hand over vital banking information to fraudsters, giving them the opportunity to drain your account.
It’s important to stay vigilant against these type of calls, especially around this time of year when a spike in this scam has been noted.
Make sure to warn elderly friends and family against suspicious calls like these, too. They may not be able to tell the difference between a real call and a scam call as easily.
Various reports of scammer phone calls claiming to be from HMRC have been made on social media.
‘I’ve had five phone calls from 0208 numbers over the past few days with recorded messages threatening legal action/arrest for tax evasion/fraud,’ one wrote.
‘Criminals are purporting to be from HMRC, using threatening language & time-pressure to urge people to take immediate action to settle “unpaid tax bills” If you’re asked to provide your bank details following an unexpected call, #Stop,’ wrote another.
Responding to the reports, a HMRC spokesperson said, “Criminals use a range of techniques in tax-related phone scams, including calling taxpayers and offering a bogus tax refund, or threatening them with arrest if they don’t immediately pay fictitious tax owed.
“These scams sometimes target the elderly and vulnerable. We are a well-known brand, which criminals abuse to add credibility to their scams.
“If someone calls, emails or texts claiming to be from HMRC, saying that you can claim financial help, are due a tax refund or owe tax, or asks for bank details, it might be a scam.
“Check GOV.UK for our scams checklist, find out how to report tax scams here on GOVUK and get information on how to recognise genuine HMRC contact here.”