MARTIN Lewis has issued a new fraud warning after a “spate” of fake HMRC scam calls impersonating the taxman to con Brits out of cash.
The founder of consumer site MoneySavingExpert said the crooks can even fake their numbers – a process known as spoofing – so they look legit.
Dan Jones – The Sun Martin Lewis is urgently warning Brits to watch out for HMRC scams, which can steal your cash
The scams usually see people called randomly, warning that they are under investigation by HMRC and need to hand over their bank details or “face serious legal consequences.”
The fraudsters will then likely make off with the cash.
The Sun last wrote about the scams in March last year after the taxman warned it had seen a spike in the number of cases being reported.
Martin is now warning about the scam after he met a woman who’d lost £4,000, he wrote on Twitter.
“Beware a spate of SCAM HMRC calls eg ‘there’s warrant for your arrest,’ ‘you’re being done for fraud!’ so ‘we need money today!'”
“They can spoof it so it comes from HMRC’s actual number. Never pay,” Martin said.
He added that you should call HMRC from a different phone if you want to check whether the call actually came from the taxman.
One Twitter user replied that it had happened to her partner. She said: “This happened to my husband they were demanding £6000 or they would arrest him.
“They were very convincing and it was very upsetting at the time.”
HMRC also replied to Martin on Twitter saying: “Thanks Martin. Always send details of suspicious calls to email@example.com and texts to 60599 so we can work to take them off the network.”
Last year, HMRC said it had removed 16,000 malicious websites pretending to be them in the past 12 months, meaning even if scam texts are delivered, the phishing website that people are directed to is likely to have been removed.
It’s also stopped customers receiving over 300 million emails purporting to come from the taxman, HMRC said.
How to avoid being scammedHERE are some tips about HMRC on how to avoid being taken in by the fraudsters.Recognise the signs – Genuine organisations like banks and HMRC will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your PIN, password or bank details.
Stay safe – Don’t give out private information, reply to text messages, download attachments or click on links in emails you weren’t expecting.
Take action – Forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to firstname.lastname@example.org and texts to 60599, or contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 to report any suspicious calls or use their online fraud reporting tool.
Check – If you think you have received an HMRC related phishing/bogus email or text message, you can check it against the examples shown in this guide.
Contact HMRC directly – You can find the list of genuine numbers to call HMRC here.
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In August last year, one man was conned out of £1,000 after scammers posed as HMRC tax collectors and demanded iTunes vouchers.
A few months earlier, officials warned about a HMRC scam where fraudsters claim your house is under surveillance.
And ahead of the self-assessment deadline at the end of January, scammers pretended to be from HMRC to intimidate people into parting with thousands of pounds.
Listen to the scary HMRC scam where fraudsters claim there’s a warrant out for your arrest
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