HMRC has issued a warning to tax return clients to be aware of fraudsters ahead of the 31st January tax return deadline. Over the last year HMRC received almost 900,000 reports about suspicious HMRC contact, more than 100,000 were phone scams whilst over 620,000 were about bogus tax rebates so if you are required to submit a tax return, be alert.
Some of the ways the fraudsters tried to fool people were:
- Offering a fax tax refund
- Pretending to be HMRC texting or e mailing a link which goes to a false page where bank details and money are stolen
- The fraudsters also threatened victims with imprisonment if a bogus tax bill was not paid immediately.
Unfortunately, this happened to a man in the south of England last month, he submitted his tax return online in November and received an email he believed to be from HMRC a few days later, he said it looked identical to the HMRC website. The email advised he was due a refund and a link took him to a page which asked for him to input his personal and bank details including his unique tax reference number, so he believed this to be the genuine HMRC website. The fraudsters stole over £7,000 from his bank account.
Always think before you react to a communication from HMRC, they would not e mail with a link to their website, if you are unsure whether the contact is genuine, don’t respond, contact HMRC yourself.
With the run up to deadline day being a historically busy time for HMRC, it is best practice to submit your tax return as soon as possible or use a professional to submit on your behalf. Whilst paying out for something you can do yourself may seem pointless but:
- The advice given could save you money
- Your time is money and the time spent on processing your tax return could be used for time with your family or growing your business
- No stress wrestling with paperwork, figures and regulations
- Peace of mind
If you are processing your own tax return and need a hand, see our top tips: https://www.cashtrak.co.uk/page/tips/
If you have received suspicious contact or believe you are a victim of fraud please contact the following:
firstname.lastname@example.org and texts to 60599. Customers who have suffered financial loss should contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or report online: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/reporting-fraud-and-cyber-crime