Published: 14/11/2023 By Hannah DuncanAttention Self-Assessment customers, be vigilant against fraudulent texts, emails, and phone calls circulating scams. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have issued a cautionary word of warning following a surge in tax-related scam reports, many of these reports were deceptive offers of fake tax rebates.
As the deadline for submitting the 2022 to 2023 Self-Assessment tax return approaches on January 31, 2024, approximately 12 million individuals are expected to file their returns. Fraudsters will be looking to exploit this period, posing as HMRC to deceive unsuspecting customers.
The scams vary in tactics, with some promising rebates, while others claim customers must update their tax details or face immediate arrest for alleged tax evasion!
Myrtle Lloyd, HMRC’s Director General for Customer Services, emphasised the need for caution, stating:
"HMRC is urging customers to remain vigilant in the lead-up to the Self-Assessment deadline. Criminals employ sophisticated tactics, utilising emails, phone calls, and texts that closely resemble official government communications to appear genuine. If you receive unexpected communications, exercise caution, take your time, and refer to HMRC's advice on scams available on GOV.UK."
HMRC have advised customers encountering suspicious communications are encouraged to report them directly to HMRC as follows:
- Forward suspicious texts claiming to be from HMRC to 60599.
- Forward emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Report tax scam phone calls through the HMRC website on gov.uk
Highlighting HMRC's commitment to safeguarding the public from scams, in the 12 months leading up to September 2023, HMRC responded to 60,000 reports of phone scams, leading to the takedown of 25,000 malicious web pages.
Don’t forget you don’t have to wait until January 31 to file your tax return, and the payment is not due until the actual deadline, unless you choose to pay earlier. Filing ahead of the deadline provides the advantage of knowing what is owed and or needed as a refund.
Stay informed and stay protected against fraudulent activities.