HMRC urges taxpayers to stay alert to digital scams

Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has urged taxpayers to stay alert to the threat of digital scams and scammers claiming to represent HMRC.

In the past 12 months, HMRC has revealed the number of tax-related scams has doubled. This has come from research published by HMRC.

In the past year, HMRC has received more than one million referrals from the UK public. This is in relation to suspicious contact, with many fraudsters offering ‘tax refunds’ or ‘rebates’. The research showed that HMRC received 441,954 reports of phone scams and more than 13,315 reports of malicious websites.

HMRC have also stated that in the last 12 months it has asked internet provides to take down 441 COVID-19 support scheme scam webpages.

Mike Fell, Head of Cyber Security Operation at HMRC, said:

‘The pandemic has given criminals a fresh hook for their activity, and we’ve detected more than 460 COVID financial support scams alone since early 2020.

‘HMRC takes a proactive approach to protecting the public from tax-related scams and we have a dedicated Customer Protection Team that works continuously to identify and close them down.’

Danielle Harvey ACA of Harvey, Telford & Bates comments:

“The message from HMRC is clear – anybody can be a victim of digital scammers. Particularly in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, there has been a surge in tax-related scams that can affect any business and taxpayer. The government have outlined some ways you can check whether you’ve been contacted by a scammer. This includes if it unexpected, offers a refund, tax rebate or grant. Additionally, it could be a scam if they are threatening or ask for personal information like bank details.”

At Harvey, Telford & Bates, we can help assist you in ensuring you are not being scammed. Our team stay up to date with the latest guidance from HMRC and can try to guide you in determining whether you have been genuinely contacted for tax-related items.

Should you require our assistance, please call us on 01743 462604 or email us at hello@htbaccountants.co.uk .

For more information, please find it on the ICAEW site here

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