HMRC, which is formally known as Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, collects tax and helps people to deal with their financial affairs. But the well-known and trusted name has once again been hijacked by criminals, who are attempting to defraud Britons. A number of people have reported receiving a text message which informs them they have received a tax rebate.
When following the link, people are asked for their personal details in the guise of claiming their tax rebate, but this is a so-called ‘phishing’ exercise from criminals.
The fraudsters will then use the information provided to potentially steal someone’s identity, or even clear out their bank account – disastrous consequences for many.
HMRC, responding to concerns online, stated the Revenue did not send text messages relating to tax rebates.
As a result, anyone who receives a message of this kind can discount it as a scam, and is urged to delete it immediately.
“Lots of them, similar to the one I’ve received, going around trying to take advantage of people’s confusion in the current climate.”
HMRC recently provided guidance to Express.co.uk on scams purporting to be from the Revenue.
A spokesperson said: “Criminals use a range of techniques in tax-related phone scams, including calling taxpayers and offering a bogus tax refund, or threatening them with arrest if they don’t immediately pay fictitious tax owed.
“These scams sometimes target the elderly and vulnerable. We are a well-known brand, which criminals abuse to add credibility to their scams.
“If someone calls, emails or texts claiming to be from HMRC, saying that you can claim financial help, are due a tax refund or owe tax, or asks for bank details, it might be a scam.
“Check GOV.UK for our scams checklist, find out how to report tax scams here on GOVUK and get information on how to recognise genuine HMRC contact here. HMRC’s dedicated Customer Protection Team in Cyber Security Operations works to identify and close down scams every day.
“The department also works in partnership with the telecoms industry and Ofcom to block malicious phone numbers.
“Over the last year HMRC reported 3,387 phone numbers being used in tax-related phone scams to telecommunication companies for takedown, and responded to over 306,219 reports of phone scams from the public, an increase of 47 percent on the previous year.”