The latest scam warning advice from HMRC is a reminder to all taxpayers to be on their guard against fraudsters.

The tax body has this week issued an alert about new scams that aim to trick people into handing over money or personal information.

It is warning tax credit claimants to watch out for scams that mimic Government communications to make them appear genuine. It’s a tactic of scammers to use deadlines – like the tax credits renewal deadline on 31 July – to target their victims.

Typical examples of scams you might encounter include:

  • Emails or texts claiming your details aren’t up to date and that you risk losing out on payments that are due to you
  • Emails or texts claiming a direct debit payment hasn’t ‘gone through’
  • Phone calls threatening arrest if you don’t immediately pay fake tax owed
  • Claims your National Insurance number has been used in fraud
  • Emails or texts offering false tax rebates or bogus grants or support

Myrtle Lloyd, HMRC’s Director General for Customer Services, said: “Tax scams come in many forms and we’re urging customers to be alert to the tactics used by fraudsters and never to let yourselves be rushed. If someone contacts you saying they’re from HMRC and asks you to give personal information or urgently transfer money, be on your guard.”

Scam messages can be convincing and are designed to pressure you into making a rushed decision. But HMRC is keen to stress its staff would never ring you out of the blue making threats or asking you to transfer money.

You should also be alert to misleading websites or adverts asking you to pay for Government services that are free.

How to report a scam or suspicious activity

You can report suspicious emails, texts, phone calls and letters to HMRC.

If you received:

  • A text message – forward it to 60599 (you’ll be charged at your network rate)
  • An email – forward it to: phishing@hmrc.gov.uk
  • A message in an application (for example in WhatsApp) – take a screenshot and email it to: phishing@hmrc.gov.uk
  • A phone call asking for personal information or threatening a lawsuit – report the call online
  • A letter – contact the HMRC team the letter says it’s from

According to the National Cyber Security Centre, HMRC was the third most spoofed Government body in 2022.

Our advice on scams

The tax world is inevitably becoming more digital. And while this comes with many benefits, there are downsides too, and chief among these is scamming.

In all areas of tax there are opportunities for fraudsters, so you must always be vigilant.

If you receive a text or email claiming you’re due tax back or that you owe HMRC money, you should speak to your tax adviser or contact HMRC to check the situation. Always stop and think if you’re asked to part with money or information.

Need help understanding your taxes?

Call our team of UK tax professionals on 07813 434195 or email: stephanie.churchill@churchilltaxation.co.uk

Steph Churchill

Stephanie Churchill

Managing director & co-owner of Churchill Taxation