The internet age has given us many things – mostly good – but as with all things it has its dark side and has created some opportunities for the more unscrupulous amongst us. I am sure many of us have examples of receiving phishing emails and dodgy calls from scammers and most of us are wise to this.
Unfortunately, these attacks are increasing in sophistication and there has been a sizeable increase in activity over recent months, from very convincing emails to calls from people pretending to be from HMRC.
How can you identify an HMRC phishing scam?
Suspicious threatening phone calls
I thought it would be worth emphasising to you that HMRC do not phone up requesting payment for taxes due on the spot, HMRC will not hound you with multiple calls (they don’t have the resources!), they would not call from multiple numbers. They do not threaten people with arrest warrants etc…
Asking for personal details
If you find yourself on the phone to HMRC and the caller is threatening action or requesting immediate payment, firstly do not give them any information. My guidance would be to politely advise the caller that you have no way of verifying who they are. To advise them that you will get your accountant to look in to their claims, then hang up.
Report the number to HMRC
Try to get the number you are being called on because if they are a scammer we can forward this number on to HMRC phishing department.
Protect yourself with Stilwell Gray
We will, on your request, make sure that you have no outstanding tax by contacting HMRC on their verified numbers and of course let you know the outcome.
The above action should minimise any risk you have from these fraudsters.