HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has warned taxpayers to be vigilant ahead of the self-assessment deadline on 31 January 2020, with a surge in fraudulent activity expected.
HMRC has stated that it has received 900,000 reports in the last 12 months relating to suspected fraud, with phone calls, text messages and emails being the most common form of scam.
The volume of scams is expected to increase ahead of the self-assessment deadline, with some of the most common techniques include fraudsters contacting taxpayers offering a fake tax refund which takes the individual to a false page in an attempt to steal their personal data and money.
Genuine organisations such as HMRC or banks would never contact an individual to ask for personal data, such as passwords, bank details and pins.
Taxpayers are being urged not to share any personal information, as well as not replying to any text messages or emails, and they should ensure that they do not download any attachments or click on links in messages that they were not expecting.
Gareth Shaw, Head of Money at Which?, said: “The number of people targeted by HMRC scams is staggering and the problem is only likely to get worse as the self-assessment deadline looms.
“Sophisticated tactics like number spoofing see innocent people losing life-changing sums every day – so banks, telecoms companies and firms being targeted must collaborate on developing solutions to halt this worsening crime.”
Some experts are also calling for banks and regulators to agree on a reimbursement fund that will ensure that victims will be able to recoup money lost if they are affected by these scams.