HMRC scammers

7 October 2016

Although scammers posing as HMRC are nothing new, we have recently seen an increase in the number and type of scams being sent to our staff and clients by email.

These ‘scam’ correspondences take a multitude of forms, not all of which can be detailed here. Unfortunately, they also range from the poorly written and unbelievable, to the better presented and convincing.

However, a common theme is that these scams normally detail amounts either underpaid to, or refunds due from, HMRC. They also usually carry the promise of cash ,or the threat of legal action as a spur to action.

The most common media for these frauds is e-mail, but we have also had reports of telephone calls, one of which threatened house repossession if  ‘tax’ was not paid within a set time period.

So what do you do if you find yourself in this situation?

  • if you are unsure if the correspondence received is from HMRC, be it a letter or e-mail, please get in touch with either your normal UHY contact or HMRC directly, using publically available contact details
  • if you were contacted by phone, use a different phone to call back HMRC as the scammer may otherwise remain on the line;
  • forward any suspected scam e-mails to phishing@gsi.gov.uk;
  • do not follow any links given in e-mails;
  • never give your bank details or other sensitive information over the phone; and
  • consider whether you should make a report to the police fraud department.

For more advice on how to protect yourself from scammers, please download our HMRC factsheet or contact your local UHY adviser.