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HMRC issue warning over tax refund scammers

Tax Returns Deadline 2016
Victoria Barker
Written by Victoria Barker

HMRC are warning that fraudsters are sending scam emails and text messages that promise tax rebates to trick people into disclosing their account and personal details.

Fraudsters are using email and text messages to scam people out of their savings, and HMRC is urging people to stay vigilant.

A range of steps have already been taken by the tax authority to try to protect the public from scams. Over 14,500 malicious websites were reported for take-down between April 2017 and March 2018.

Currently, the tax authority is processing tax refunds after the end of 2017 to 2018 tax year. Criminals are said to be taking advantage of this , by sending out scam emails and text messages that are tricking the public into thinking they have received a tax rebate so they hand over their account and other personal details.

Here’s how you can tell if something is a scam

Mel Stride, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury said:

“HMRC only informs you about tax refunds through the post or through your pay via your employer. All emails, text messages, or voicemail messages saying you have a tax refund are a scam. Do not click on any links in these messages, and forward them to HMRC’s phishing email address and phone number.

“We know that criminals will try and use events like the end of the financial year, the self-assessment deadline, and the issuing of tax refunds to target the public and attempt to get them to reveal their personal data. It is important to be alert to the danger”.

Tax calculation letters

Income Tax for 6 April 2017 to 5 April 2018 will be calculated over the coming months and anyone owed a genuine tax rebate will receive a tax calculation letter by post between June and October.

If you haven’t paid the right amount at the end of the tax year, HMRC will post you a tax calculation. This can be a P800 or a Simple Assessment letter. If you have paid too much tax, the letter will explain how you can get your refund paid to you. If you have not paid enough tax, the letter will tell you how much you owe and how you can pay.

Advice from HMRC

HMRC have given the following advice to customers;

  • ALWAYS recognize the signs of a scam. Organisations that are genuine, like banks and HMRC, will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your PIN number, bank details or password
  •  NEVER give out private information, download attachments, reply to text messages or click on links in emails that you were not expecting
  • ALWAYS pass on any suspicious emails, texts or calls that you receive to HMRC. If its an email, you can forward the suspicious email claiming to be from HMRC to phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk If it is a suspicious text message, the number to forward on to is 60599. Another option is to contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 to report any suspicious calls or use its online fraud reporting tool

HMRC has taken a range of action to protect the public from scams, from April 2017 to March 2018 alone it reported 14,631 malicious websites for takedown.

Learn more about tax
  • Are you interested in learning more about tax? The RLA run several courses in property tax, with dates in London and Manchester. Check out our Property Tax course and our Inheritance Tax course
  • For more advice on your tax related issues, RLA members can call the RLA Tax Centre, bought to you in partnership with Rita4Rent.

About the author

Victoria Barker

Victoria Barker

Victoria is the Communications Officer for the RLA.

With a degree in Journalism, she is responsible for producing articles for our Campaigns and News Centre, the weekly E-News newsletter and creating social media content.

Before joining the RLA, Victoria worked in the University of Salford’s press office, and during University she represented Smooth Radio at events across the North West, as a member of the street team.

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