Published On: Fri, May 10th, 2024
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Seven HMRC scams threatening your finances this summer – and how to spot them | Personal Finance | Finance


Brits have been warned to be wary of “creative” scammers posing as the HMRC this summer.

Finance expert Gary Hemming, from ABC finance, has provided his insight and his top tips for navigating the potential pitfalls to some of the most common HMRC scams you need to be aware of this summer as well as how to protect yourself.

Fake Tax Refunds

Have you received an unexpected text or email saying you’re eligible for a tax refund? It’s likely a scam in which the scammers will provide a link asking for personal or financial details under the guise of a refund.

HMRC will never ask for such information via text or email so if that information is requested of you feel safe to ignore it or simply contact the HMRC directly and check with them.

Threatening Phone Calls

You might receive a call claiming you’ll be arrested if you don’t pay a supposed tax debt immediately. This is a fear tactic to pressure you into providing sensitive information or making immediate payments. HMRC would never resort to threats or arrest warrants over the phone.

Phishing Emails

Scammers can make emails look like they are from HMRC, asking for bank details to process a refund. Always double-check the email address and content. Grammatical errors or unusual domain names are red flags. If you are uncertain, directly contact HMRC via their official channels.

Gift Card Scams

Scammers often request that fines or penalties be paid via gift cards, which is a clear sign of fraudulent activity. HMRC only accepts payments through official channels, never through unconventional means like gift cards.

Tax Credits Fraud

Beware of anyone posing as an HMRC representative offering assistance with tax credits. Scammers often request sensitive personal information or upfront fees. Always verify the identity of anyone who contacts you regarding tax credits.

 

Social Media Messages

Scammers are active on social media, too. Fake profiles may message you, claiming to be HMRC, and ask for personal or financial details. HMRC will never reach out via social media.

Self-Assessment Scam

Be cautious of communications stating that your self-assessment details require urgent action. If you’re unsure, contact HMRC directly through their official website.

How to Protect Yourself

Contact HMRC Directly: If you receive any suspicious communication, contact HMRC through their official website or phone numbers.

Report Scams: Report all scam emails or messages to HMRC. This will help prevent further fraud attempts.

Be Skeptical: Avoid sharing sensitive personal or financial information through unsolicited messages.

Stay Informed: Share this information with friends and family to help them avoid these scams as well.

Gary Hemming, Finance Expert at ABC Finance, said: “Scammers thrive on creating panic and urgency to manipulate people. Always take a step back, verify information through official channels, and never hesitate to ask for help from HMRC if you’re unsure. Stay vigilant and spread the word to protect yourself and others.”



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