There are so many scam calls and emails claiming to be HMRC . They are getting more sophisticated all the time, and business owners are falling for them and losing hundreds or thousands of pounds. In this blog post we share some of the most popular scam calls and emails claiming to come from HMRC, so you know how to spot scam calls and emails
Coronavirus Email Scams from HMRC
There is a phishing campaign where an email claiming to be from HMRC tells the reader they can protect themselves from the pandemic by claiming a tax refund. The email has the gov.uk logo at the top, claims to be from the Government Gateway and offers a hyperlink to claim the tax refund its states you are eligible for.
Coronavirus SMS Scam from HMRC
We have heard of people receiving a ‘goodwill payment’ text claiming to be from HMRC. The SMS claims to be part of the NHS promise to battle COVID-19 with HMRDC issuing a £258 goodwill payment. The text asked the receiver to click the link to apply for this goodwill payment.
Scam Calls From HMRC
Many business owners have received calls from people claiming to be from HMRC. It is an automated phone call scam in which you are told HMRC is filing a lawsuit against you. As the receiver of the call you are asked to press 1 where you can speak to a caseworker and make payment.
How To Spot HMRC Scammers
If you receive an email that offers you payment that you weren’t expecting, an unexpected invoice that is overdue payment or a refund from HMRC – double check it. Look at the email address it is from. You may see one of the words in the email address is spelt wrong, for example HMCR instead or HMRC. Never open attachments or respond to these emails. If you’re not sure if it’s a scam call your accountant or HMRC to question or report the email.
It’s important to note that HMRC will never send notification by email, WhatsApp, social media or text about tax refunds or rebates. If you receive an email of this sort from them do not visit the website, do not open any attachments, and do not give them any personal details.
If you receive a call from HMRC ask them to verify who they are. Ask them for the details they have for you and ask for their name and number. You can then call HMRC yourself and ask for this name and number. If you cannot verify the identity of the caller, we recommend you do not speak to them and end the call. You may also want to Google the number that called you. Numbers that are often used by scammers can be found reported on websites.
How To Report HMRC Scammers
If you have received a suspicious call, email or text you need to report it so others can be protected. You can do this by sending details of the call, text of the email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Once you have done this, delete the email or text and block the number from calling you.
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How to spot scam calls and emails
To spot scam calls and emails pretending to be HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs), you can follow these best practices:
- Be cautious of unsolicited communication: HMRC typically contacts individuals through official letters, so be wary of unexpected calls or emails claiming to be from HMRC.
- Verify the sender’s email address: Check the email address carefully. Scammers often use email addresses that resemble official HMRC addresses but contain small variations or misspellings.
- Look for poor grammar and spelling: Scam emails often contain grammar mistakes, typos, or awkward language. Official communications from HMRC are usually well-written and free of errors.
- Beware of urgent or threatening language: Scammers may try to create a sense of urgency or fear to pressure you into taking immediate action. Genuine HMRC communications are professional and typically avoid using threatening language.
- Check for personal salutations: Legitimate HMRC emails usually address you by name or the name associated with your tax account. Generic greetings like “Dear Customer” or “Dear Sir/Madam” can indicate a scam.
- Exercise caution with attachments or links: Avoid opening attachments or clicking on links in emails from unknown or suspicious sources. These can contain malware or direct you to fraudulent websites.
- Validate the phone number: If you receive a call claiming to be from HMRC, ask for the caller’s name and extension. Hang up, then look up the official HMRC phone number from a reliable source, such as the official HMRC website, and call back to verify the information.
- Be wary of payment requests: Scammers often request immediate payment or threaten legal action. HMRC does not typically demand immediate payment over the phone or by email.
- Don’t provide personal information: HMRC will never ask for sensitive information like your bank details, credit card numbers, or passwords via email or phone. Be cautious of any request for such information.
- Consult HMRC directly: If you’re uncertain about the legitimacy of an email or phone call, contact HMRC directly using the official contact information available on their website. They can verify if the communication was genuine or a scam.
Remember, staying vigilant and skeptical when it comes to unsolicited communication is crucial in protecting yourself from scams.