The Revenue have become aware of an increase in scam telephone calls regarding outstanding tax from people claiming to be from HMRC.
Key features of the scam calls to date include:
- They only ring land lines.
- They ask for the person on that number by name.
- The normally ask for payments of outstanding tax typically ranging from £920 to £980.
- They normally state that if the liability is not paid immediately, the amount due will increase substantially (figures of £45,000 and £96,000 were quoted in two cases). In one case the scammers claimed that the liability had been outstanding since 1985.
- The person called was asked to purchase iTunes vouchers to pay their supposed outstanding balance. These could either be collected in person by the scammers, or the codes read out over the phone.
- For “security purposes” they ask the person they are speaking to to confirm details of their identity (e.g. their date of birth and National Insurance number).
- If the scam caller is asked to put the details in writing, they get very aggressive, saying that they have already sent many reminders.
- They sometimes leave messages on answerphones. The message asks the person to ring 08000 273930 and to press 1 for the case handler.
- In this attack, calls came from 07441 392094 (though of course this could change).
- The calls were made by both men and women.
- Many of the people that received calls had no reason to have an outstanding tax liability (e.g. their only source of income was subject to PAYE or they were not working or retired).
The people behind these calls can be very convincing, and have successfully extracted money and personal details from targeted individuals.
It is important to remember HMRC will not call individuals out of the blue to demand money or inform them of penalties or refunds. Instead taxpayers will usually be contacted by letter or the P800 in the first instance.
If you receive a suspicious call purporting to be from HMRC you should:
- Not provide any payment or other personal information.
- If in any doubt, hang up and call HMRC back directly, as you would normally, rather than on any numbers provided.