HMRC telephone scams growing increasingly common

In recent days, several reports have emerged suggesting that bogus phone calls from fraudsters posing as HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) officials are growing increasingly common across the UK.

According to reports, scammers are cold-calling taxpayers and demanding immediate payments of several hundred pounds in order to settle bogus tax debts.

In some instances, victims are being threatened with Court action or a visit from the bailiffs if they fail to comply with the aggressive demands.

Last year, Police crime watchdog Action Fraud reported that these scams were growing increasingly common across the UK.

Since then, HMRC has reported that it has been successful in preventing a number of HMRC scam text messages from making their way to taxpayers’ mobile phones – but reports in numerous regional newspapers suggest that ‘cold-calling’ scams are still at large.

Earlier this week, Avon and Somerset Constabulary issued a warning over the bogus phone calls after an unnamed pensioner in the area purchased a number of iTunes gift vouchers worth hundreds of pounds after being pressured by a cold-caller purporting to be from HMRC.

Fraudsters had asked the gentleman to pass on these vouchers to a bogus HMRC representative, but fortunately, the unnamed man phoned the police first amid concerns that the scheme looked shady.

Similar reports have emerged of victims who have lost money to these scams in The Sun, The Telegraph, The Yorkshire Post, The Bristol Post and more in the past few weeks.

Taxpayers are urged to be vigilant and, when in doubt, to consult HMRC’s guidance on how to spot phishing and scams here.