HMRC warns fraudulent communications are circling05/07/2021
Although many of us might appreciate the difficult job HMRC do all year round, we suspect few people look forward to receiving communications from them. However, while a legitimate message from HMRC might not be something to get excited over, it’s much better than receiving an illegitimate one… and potentially being scammed out of your hard-earned profit.
HMRC has announced that it responded to more-than 1,154,300 suspicious messages, which were brought to its attention by members of the public, in the 12 months ending April 30th, 2021. More-than 50% of these communications offered their readers bogus tax rebates. In the same period, HMRC had worked to remove over 3,000 fraudulent telephone numbers and 15,700 scam websites, and responded to 443,033 reports of phone scams (a massive 135% rise in phone scams from the previous 12 months).
There’s no doubt: the fraudsters are ramping up their efforts to part the unwary from their wealth. But how can you avoid being one of the unwary? According to HMRC’s Director General for Customer Services:
“There are a lot of scams out there where fraudsters are calling, testing or emailing customers claiming to be from HMRC. If you have any doubts, we suggest you do not reply directly, and contact us yourself straight away. Search GOV.UK for our ‘scams checklist’ and to find out ‘how to report tax scams’.”
More broadly, two pieces of advice will generally protect you from all such fraudulent requests, whether they’re placed by phony HMRC’s or any other pretend agencies. First, never respond to a questionable message (even clicking a link or sending an email could be enough) and never give out personal information; and second, contact the legitimate organisation that the message claims to be from. You can get hold of most organisations through their official website (make sure that the address is correct – for example, a government website will always use gov.uk, a UK university will always have an ac.uk extension, etc.). And if you’re really uncertain as to a legitimate organisation’s contact details, turn to an official document to find them (such as the phone book, which scammers have no way of altering).
If you believe you may have been contacted by a scammer, or you want to learn how to protect your assets against an ever-growing list of threats, call JW Hinks on 0121 456 0190. Our friendly and professional team of experts can help you futureproof your wealth as securely as possible.