Updated 24 Feb 2020
It is almost March, how time flies! The tellows team has also been busy keeping the information about phone scams up to date. As expected, unfortunately, the number of spam calls, especially related to cost traps, is soaring because of more advanced technology nowadays and scammers having more means to escape from the authorities. Scammers have been taking advantage of taxpayers in last year. According to HMRC, over 100,000 reports of frauds were reported last year and the number is increasing. Last year, HMRC announced that it has been working with Ofcom, Mobile UK, Mobile Ecosystem Forum and Telecommunications UK Fraud Forum together to prevent bogus tax calls. The cooperation was successful and 1050 numbers have been deleted by HMRC, of which many numbers started with 0300. HMRC also stated that the number of phone scam reports has reduced by 25%, which is a very promising sign.
How the tax scam works
1. Scammers are likely to call with a very official tone and advise that the victim is involved in a tax fraud.
2. According to an article of MoneySavingExpert, the scammer would insist on reading out some legal statement and how much is owed.
3. Afterwards, they will also indicate that the victim’s assets, passport and bank account will be frozen due to fraud activities.
4. Many victims panicked at this point, and scammers will push that police will be involved, and arrest the victim in a short period of time.
5. The scammer will offer a choice to avoid the chaos, which is to make a payment through bank transfer or other ways. There are also scammers that wait and let the victim ask for how to prevent the arrest and etc.
Don’t fall victim to the tax scam
HMRC has expressed concern that tax scammers are targeting students in the recent time. The reason behind this is probably youngsters are not yet familiar to the tax system and scammers always threaten that ‘there will be a criminal record’, and therefore students will panic. The following are simple acts you can do when receiving dubious calls.
1. Do not trust unknown callers easily, always be suspicious when they call and claim to be a official from HMRC etc. As HMRC clearly stated that they do not contact the public out of the blue. Examples of bogus emails, websites can be found here.
2. After receiving a call that sounds like ‘You are involved in criminal activities’, ‘The police is coming to arrest you and there will be a full investigation’, ‘Your bank account/ assets/ passport etc are frozen’, always contact your bank, police or other involved parties to confirm what happens.
3. Visit government website such as Action fraud to report scam or suspicious call.
Here is a list of the numbers which are suggested to be related to HMRC phone scam and reported on tellows by our users recently.
User Oldmanpow commented
“Call recorded message claimed to be from HMRC and a tax fraud case had been opened against me. If I didn’t press 1 to speak to a handler a warrant for my arrest would issued immediately. I hung up.”
on 12 Feb 2020 with a tellows score of 8.
User NEI commented
“Recorded message from a woman with an American accent pretending to be calling from HMRC, telling us or our solicitors to call her back or face legal action if we ignore the call. The call was made from the phone number she was telling you to call back on.”
on 6 Feb 2020 with a tellows score of 9.
User Sus commented
“a call saying I was on a warrant of arrest for defrauding hmrc…press 1…I did and was put through to a woman asking for all my details… i asked for a number to ring her back on and she said I would not be able to do anything unless I talk with her now. I then said you are not HMRC and she hung the line up! This is a fraud!”
on 6 Feb 2020 with a tellows score of 9.
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