Businesses and Customers Need to Remain On High Alert Following the Rise in HMRC Scams

There has been a surge in scams targeting businesses and individual taxpayers in the UK in recent years, which might account for why the cost of fraud is so high these days! In 2021, it was estimated to nearly surpass £137 billion alone! 

The rising cost of fraud will only continue to escalate even further because of the increase in 

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) scams. These usually take the form of fake emails or phone calls purporting to be from HMRC, the UK’s tax authority. The fraudsters behind these scams often try to trick their victims into paying bogus tax bills or providing their personal information that can be used for identity theft. 

While HMRC contacts taxpayers about refunds and other matters, it will never request personal or financial information by email or phone. Any unwarranted requests for this type of information should be treated with suspicion. 

Any business with an online presence needs to be aware of the importance of domain registration monitoring so that they can scan the web to identify if their brand name and integrity has been compromised.

It’s too common these days for fraudsters to clone a website and make it look authentic, especially ?where someone might pretend that they are from the HMRC. Here are some simple  tips on how people can avoid becoming victims of HMRC scams. 

How to avoid HMRC scams

Report suspicious texts and emails

Before handing out money or personal information, consider the decision. Don’t hand out personal information or respond after receiving an unexpected phone call, text, or email.

Do not click on links or open attachments without first verifying the contact on GOV.UK. One should not trust caller ID on phones. It is possible to fake numbers.

Customers and businesses should send texts pretending to be from HMRC to 60599, and they should send emails to [email protected] GOV.UK allows them to report tax fraud phone.

 calls. Victims of this fraud should contact their bank right away and notify Action Fraud (contact the police on 101 in Scotland).

A recent article has emphasised the requirement for people to be aware of cyber fraud. Hotmail and Gmail users have been told to be aware of a new scam message that is occurring. The email will suggest that the recipient is owed hundreds of pounds from a tax rebate and then redirects them to a supposed website where they’d be able to claim that reported refund, of which if people did click on that link, it would love their financial and personal details exposed.. 

Don’t provide your personal information

A legitimate organisation will never contact customers, such as HMRC or a bank, requesting their PIN, password, or bank account information. Customers should never send out personal information, respond to text messages, download attachments, or click on links in texts or emails that ask for it.

Conclusion

While HMRC scams can take many forms, there are a few key things individuals can do to guard themselves and avoid becoming a victim.

Remember that the HMRC will never contact you via email or phone out of the blue with an offer of tax relief or to threaten you with an arrest, so if something seems suspicious, it probably is! By being alert to ?scams and taking steps to protect yourself, you can avoid becoming a victim.

Rylie Holt