HMRC warns against Self-Assessment scams01/11/2022
If you’re thinking about filing your taxes for the year, be on the lookout for scammers.
Cons have started targeting people who use Self-Assessment, with some making threats of jail and others offering significant rebates in exchange for their personal information.
More than 180,000 reports of suspicious contact were sent to HMRC in the 12 months leading up to August 2022, of which around 81,000 were frauds offering phoney tax refunds.
Customer Services Director General at HMRC Myrtle Lloyd said “Never let yourself be rushed. If someone contacts you saying they’re from HMRC, wanting you to urgently transfer money or give personal information, be on your guard. HMRC will never ring up threatening arrest. Only criminals do that.”
Scammers have contacted victims via email, text, and phone, promising fake tax refunds and sometimes threatening jail for tax violation.
Customers who file their taxes through self-assessment should be especially wary of fraud during tax season since con artists know that’s when their victims will be contacting HMRC.
They can fall for phishing messages, emails, or phone calls purporting to be from HMRC about their Self-Assessment return, offering a “refund” or demanding payment of overdue taxes.
Some customers who have never filed a Self-Assessment return before may fall for the scam and divulge sensitive information by clicking on links in these messages.
For the tax year 2021–2022, the deadline to file your return by mail is October 31, 2022, and the deadline to file your return electronically is January 31, 2023. Customers who use GOV.UK to submit their returns online should keep their HMRC login information private. Someone with these data might potentially commit theft or create a false claim in the customer’s name.
Particularly, HMRC is cracking down on fraudsters and scammers who pose as HMRC employees or try to steal your money by imitating the agency’s methods and communications. The Customer Protection Team within the division works tirelessly to detect and stop frauds.
When it comes to websites that try to trick users into paying for services that should be free or low cost, including connecting them to the free HMRC phone helplines, HMRC is on the case. As a precaution for the general public, HMRC has legally taken ownership of any domain names or websites using the HMRC trademark. More than 183 websites providing low-value services, such call-connection sites, have been retrieved by the government since 2017, saving the public several million pounds.
If you get suspicious communication from someone purporting to be from HMRC, take your time and look at the scams information on GOV.UK.
Any customers who see something fishy can contact HMRC. They may report phishing emails to firstname.lastname@example.org or strange texts to 60599. Use the form on GOV.UK to report any suspected tax scam calls to HMRC.
If you require any help completing your Self-Assessment tax return, or are worried you have fallen for a scam, then contact JW Hinks on 0121 456 0190 and see how our expert tax team can help.