UK taxpayers yet to submit their self-assessment tax returns for the 2017/18 financial year are being warned about a telephone scam purporting to be from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
Online security experts, Comparitech discovered that some taxpayers are receiving automated phone calls warning them that “the issue at hand is extremely time sensitive”.
The call also warns individuals that if they “do not call [them] back or [they] do not hear from [their] solicitors” they should “get ready to face the legal consequences”.
The automated warning implores taxpayers to call 020 8638 8432, which the online security team at Comparitech attempted to call but received no response.
Various websites that document fake or fraudulent telephone callers have highlighted this telephone number as fake, urging taxpayers not to reveal confidential details over the telephone.
How to recognise scam HMRC phone calls
HMRC would never threaten individuals with legal action in this manner over the telephone. Nor would they call someone without verifying their own identity first.
HMRC has also reinforced on multiple occasions that it will only ever communicate with individuals regarding tax returns via post – never via text message or email.
If you believe you have been victim of an attempted HMRC scam telephone call, don’t hesitate to report it by email to [email protected], including the date of the telephone call, the phone number used and its content.
Worse still, if you fear you have given out sensitive personal details to a fraudulent caller, it’s vital that you contact the police’s Action Fraud department as soon as possible.
Self-assessment tax returns are a prime topic for fraudsters, given that self-employed individuals and new start-ups can be easily caught off guard by unexpected calls, text or emails demanding payments.
If you are in any doubt about suspected communications from HMRC regarding your tax obligations, please don’t hesitate to contact your TaxAssist Accountant on 0800 0523 555. We can clarify their legitimacy and put your mind at ease prior to the 31st January self-assessment deadline.