With the new deadline for the Self-Assessment tax return form to be completed and returned to HMRC by the 31st January 2021, there has been a significant increase in scammers posing as HMRC taking advantage of people’s personal data.
HMRC is now warning and advising those who are due to complete their tax returns, to be aware of scammers claiming to be HMRC, and are therefore taking advantage of the next deadline in order to pressure customers to share their personal data, including financial details.
There has been a dramatic increase in reports of scammers and fraudulent emails, texts and calls claiming to be HMRC sources. Official reports and statistics from HMRC recorded “over 800,000 referrals of fraudulent contact over the last 12 months. In addition to over 15,000 web pages that were unsafe and reported.”
Phishing methods can include scammers using persuasive language in order to make the recipient uncomfortable, and feel the pressure to disclose their personal data. This can include their bank details, addresses and phone numbers.
Top 5 Ways Tax Scammers Can be Identified
- If the email/text/call is unexpected.
- If the email/text/call offers a tax rebate, grant or refund.
- If the email/text/call requests personal data such as your bank information.
- If the email/text/call instructs the recipient to transfer money to an account.
- If the email/text/call message content is in a threatening tone.
Top Tips To Avoid Being Scammed
- Always stop and think. Does it look legitimate enough to download attachments, click links or send information that arrives unexpectedly.
- Challenge it. Scammers will always attempt to put a recipient under immense pressure to send over personal data. It is important to familiarise yourself with the official advice from Government resources to help recognise genuine emails from HMRC.
If you think that you have been the victim of fraud, it is vital to contact your bank service immediately and also report it to Action Fraud.
In addition to this, tax payers are always reminded to report any suspicious activity by emailing the official address ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’. You can also report activity by sending a text message to the number ‘60599’.
Additionally, you can seek support from MCL Payroll by calling us on 01255 258316 or sending an email to email@example.com and we can help direct you in the best way possible.
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