Did you know that last year, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) received almost 900,000 reports from the public about suspicious calls, texts and emails?
Fraudsters are rampant at this time of the year in particular, preying on unsuspecting taxpayers who just want to do what’s right by the taxman.
Some of the most common scams include criminals ringing taxpayers offering a bogus tax refund, or by sending fake HMRC emails asking members of the public to input their bank account details.
And in the most extreme cases, some fraudsters have been known to threaten vulnerable people with the prospect of arrest or imprisonment if a fake tax bill is not paid immediately.
So, with the risk of crime so high, what can we do to protect ourselves?
KNOW THE SIGNS
- Official organisations, such as HMRC, your bank or building society, will never ask you for your bank account details over the phone or via an email link.
- If you are unsure, never click on an email link directly. Instead, navigate to the website yourself using an internet browser.
- Scams are getting increasingly sophisticated. While poor spelling and grammar used to be hallmarks of criminals, phoney communications may now look and feel like the real thing. Always use caution when receiving emails and phone calls.
- Never engage with a scammer. Ignore it or report it to HMRC.
- Learn the Spam Spotter Rules. They may just save your personal data one day.
- Use common sense. A scammer will try everything to get you to pay or hand over your details that very moment. Always allow yourself time and space to do your own research.
- Let your friends and family know about scams, especially if you care for an elderly or vulnerable person.
Share this guide with friends and family this Christmas to keep a loved one safe. For more information, get in touch with our expert tax team.