Over the past year, HMRC has received almost 900,000 reports from the public about suspicious communication from criminals masquerading as the tax authority.
It said more than 100,000 of the reports were about phone scams, in addition to 620,000 about bogus tax rebates. HMRC is warning taxpayers to be aware of the risks that fraud presents in the lead up to the 31 January self assessment deadline.
Common techniques fraudsters use include calling taxpayers and offering a fake tax refund, and pretending to be HMRC by texting or emailing a link, which will take customers to a false page where their bank details are stolen. Criminals have also been known to threaten victims with arrest or imprisonment if a bogus tax bill is not paid immediately.
HMRC is reminding people that organisations such as banks will never contact customers asking for their PIN, password or bank details. Individuals should never give out private information, reply to unsolicited text messages, download attachments or click on links in texts or emails which they are not expecting. You can find out more details on how to protect yourself here
If you have received anything suspicious regarding self assessment, you can forward details of suspicious calls or emails to firstname.lastname@example.org, and texts to 60599 – or by all means forward them to us, and we will report them for you.