Scam HMRC telephone calls on the rise warn Trading Standards!

Residents across Warwickshire should beware of phone calls from fraudsters claiming to be HMRC, warns Warwickshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service.

The bogus callers attempt to frighten residents by falsely suggesting that the Police are on the verge of arresting them for unpaid taxes. The fraudsters then ask the residents to pay the bogus ‘tax bill’ often using iTunes gift card voucher codes.

Warwickshire County Councillor Andy Crump, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety said: “Whilst most people see through these scam calls and put the phone down, unfortunately some vulnerable people can and do fall victim to these frightening phone calls, losing thousands of pounds as a consequence.”

“If you have a vulnerable family member, neighbour or friend, make sure they are aware of this scam and how they can protect themselves.”

Warwickshire Trading Standards has seen an increase in the number of complaints in the past month relating to bogus HMRC phone calls, emails and texts. Many of the calls relate to demands for payment, but some also concern bogus tax refunds. In these cases residents are asked for personal and financial information that can then be used for identity theft and are normally asked to pay money in advance to receive their non-existent refund.

Be Aware

• HMRC will never use texts to tell you about a tax rebate or penalty or ask for payment using iTunes gift card voucher codes or similar.

• Telephone numbers and text messages can easily be spoofed. You should never trust the number you see on your telephone’s display.

• If you receive a suspicious cold call, end it immediately.

Protect Yourself and Others

• There are now a number of scam call blocking/filtering devices on the market that are very effective in reducing and in some cases eliminating bogus calls. These are particularly useful for vulnerable individuals who would struggle to spot a scam caller.

For more information and to report HMRC scams, visit:

• HMRC: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/phishing-and-bogus-emails-hm-revenue-and-customs-examples/phishing-emails-and-bogus-contact-hm-revenue-and-customs-examples

• Action Fraud: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/

To receive scam alerts to your email inbox visit: https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/scams