Sophisticated scams are becoming increasingly common, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic. Therefore, taxpayers need to be vigilant of fraudsters claiming to be calling about HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) matters.
In one reported instance, a fraudster claimed to be a ‘court officer’ from a High Court, phoning to inform of a case against an individual, regarding a £5,000 HMRC non-payment, which was taking place in a court that day.
This convincing scammer quoted a name, court phone number, a reference number and directed the individual to a website that attempts to validate credentials. For an unsuspecting taxpayer, this seems entirely plausible.
Furthermore, the fraudster in this case suggested that to avoid escalating the matter, there were three options;
- Pay the debt immediately to settle the case, or
- Pay the money to the court, to remain until the dispute finishes,
- Proceed with the court hearing and deal with the High Court Sheriffs the next day, who would subsequently incur additional costs.
Unfortunately, cases such as these are becoming more common. Many HMRC-related phone scams target the vulnerable by using the Government department’s brand, which adds credibility to the fraudster’s call.
We would like to remind all clients that HMRC would never chase payment without issuing prior and correct correspondence.
If you are concerned about a potential HMRC scam, ensure that you speak to an expert before making any payment or revealing any personal information.