HRMC SCAMMERS RETURN
Posted on the 4th of April 2019 at 15:43 in the Legal Updates category
We wish to alert all our members and readers, that a familiar HRMC scam is doing the rounds again.
In this scam which has been going around periodically over the past 4 years, businesses are called and the caller (this time with very pronounced Scottish accents), report that your business has problems with its tax returns, and unless you pay them a monthly fee to settle a calculation of debt, you will have to go to court and receive a fine. Often these callers do not know the names of your key personnel or the name of any Accountant you might use for sending in your tax returns or PAYE returns.
What is interesting, is that as usual with other scammers, as soon as you quiz them further they soon hang up on you. The calls are being made from a freephone number 0300 200 3884.
According to may hundreds of people who have posted warnings over the Internet, this scam keeps luring people into giving their personal bank details and setting up "Direct Debits", which of course the scammers use to these details, to empty business or personal bank accounts. You can read more by typing that number into Google and reading people's own experiences with these scavengers.
Here are several other HRMC related scams and how they work.
HMRC phone scam: warrant for arrest
In one of the scam telephone messages, an automated male voice warns there’s a warrant for your arrest because there’s a legal case to be filed in your name. It says because you’ve now been notified, you then have to call the HMRC on a number provided. The voice signs off with: ‘Don’t ignore.’
HMRC phone scam: officer Sarah Wilson
The other scam voicemail is an automated female voice purporting to be Officer Sarah Wilson from HM Revenue & Customs. She urges you or your solicitor to call back on a special number. The message threatens that if you or don't call them back, ‘then get ready to face the legal consequences’. Its a tactic to make you act quickly and pressure you into responding out of fear.
Quick way to spot signs of an automated HRMC voicemail scam:
It uses semi-official or threatening words
The calls are try to pressure you into acting quickly - this is a common sign of a scam as it’s designed to stop you from thinking through your actions there and then.
Being contacted out of the blue without expecting any enquiries or 'problems' with your tax issues
It’s always a good idea to try verify the identity of the caller. You can do this by getting them to answer questions only you would know - like your tax reference number. At all times, remember that if you have any suspicion, bad gut-feeling or If you feel uncomfortable or you suspect it could be a scam, hang up or terminate the call immediately.
If at any time you are asked to share personal details over the phone, and you don't know for sure who the caller is, you should hang up at once.
You can research the caller's number independently by putting the number into Google, Yahoo or Bing search engines. You will almost always get a confirmation of your suspicions, by reading other people's comments about that number. If you think it may have been HRMC and you wish to talk to them, then you look up HRMC's number online through www.gov.uk, or replying to a genuine letter you have been sent.