HMRC issues warning on scams as thousands attacked by bogus tax rebates – ‘be careful!’

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HMRC, or HM Revenue and Customs as it is formally known, both issues certain payments and helps Britons with their tax affairs. But it is also taking responsibility for helping to keep Britons safe from scams which seek to target individuals’ hard-earned cash. Statistics have shown that in the 12 months to April 30, 2021, HMRC responded to more than 1,154,300 referrals of suspicious contact from the public.

Of these, more than 576,960 offered bogus tax rebates.

The issue is particularly important for tax credit customers, who can expect to receive the remaining annual renewal packs in the post this week.

While Britons are looking out for genuine correspondence due to the time frame, they could end up falling for sophisticated scams.

Anyone who is currently doing their tax credit renewal who has received a tax or benefit text or email may be tricked into thinking this was from HMRC.

They may be lulled into a false sense of security and share their personal details or even transfer money for an overpayment which, in fact, does not exist.

Many scams actually mimic genuine Government messages in order to appear authentic and reassuring.

Some scams use HMRC branding and logos, or include links to the official HMRC address or phone number.

As HMRC is a familiar name to millions of Britons, cybercriminals may be taking advantage of this to add credibility to their scams. 

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Myrtle Lloyd, HMRC’s Director General for Customer Services, commented on the matter.

She said: “We’re urging all of our customers to be really careful if they are contacted out of the blue by someone asking for money or bank details.

“There are a lot of scams out there where fraudsters are calling, texting or emailing customers claiming to be from HMRC.

“If you have any doubts, we suggest you don’t reply directly, and contact us yourself straight away.

“Search GOV.UK for our ‘scams checklist’ and find out ‘how to report tax scams’.”

As a result, Britons are being advised to stay on their guard against these kind of scams.

If someone cannot verify the true identity of a caller, then HMRC advises putting the phone down immediately and not engaging with the call.

HMRC has also shared some of the key identifying signs that correspondence is a scam.

These include if it is:

  • Unexpected
  • Offering a refund, tax rebate or grant
  • Asking for personal information such as bank details
  • Threatening
  • Telling a person to transfer money

For those who are renewing their tax credits, the process is intended to be simple and easy.

To renew, customers can log in to the official Government website and also find out more about the progress of their renewal.

Tax credits can help working families with targeted financial support, and individuals have until July 31 to let HMRC know of any changes to their circumstances which may impact a claim.

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