The approach of the 31 January self assessment tax return deadline will bring a surge in scams, HMRC has warned.
HMRC issues thousands of SMS messages and emails as part of its annual self assessment tax return campaign. However, the tax authority has warned taxpayers completing their returns to avoid being caught out by fraudsters using calls, emails or texts to offer fake ‘tax rebates’ or ‘tax refunds’. HMRC has reminded taxpayers that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
In the last 12 months the tax authority has responded to more than 846,000 referrals of suspicious HMRC contact from the public and reported over 15,500 malicious webpages to internet service providers.
Almost 500,000 of the referrals from the public offered bogus tax rebates, whereby fraudsters use phone, email or text messages to contact their victims, primarily offering them fake tax rebates in order to extract their personal details.
Impersonation scams use language intended to convince victims to hand over personal information, including bank details, in order to claim a ‘refund’. There are also reports of scammers becoming aggressive and threatening towards victims.
Karl Khan, HMRC’s Interim Director General for Customer Services, said: ‘If someone calls, emails or texts claiming to be from HMRC offering financial help or asking for money, it might be a scam. Please take a moment to think before parting with any private information or money.’