HMRC scam calls offer tax rebates – warning signs in texts, letters and phone calls

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HMRC is used as a continuous scam by scammers. The organisation that can demand money and give you money is a huge opportunity for scammers to use, and they do. Throughout the year there are different times when they can target scams to what you would expect, for example, when you need to do a tax return.

Here are the key HMRC scams:

  • COVID 19 refunds: get a tax refund because of COVID, you’re entitled to a money back claim now
  • Tax refunds: you’re entitled to a refund and your tax liability has been recalculated
  • Tax bills: you have an outstanding tax liability that needs to be paid immediately
  • Tax rebates: often for uniforms or home working then an organisation will reclaim money for you
  • Customs duty: you need to pay customs for an incoming parcel as the taxes are not paid

Some HMRC scams are only interested in harvesting your data so that it can be used in other scams.

The data passing hands may include your bank details or alternatively the scammers will require you to enter a bank card and they will take payment – that is, steal your money right out of your account.

In some versions they will install malware onto your device to monitor your device and capture key passwords and with the call scams they can record your screen and watch you transfer money and then empty your bank accounts after the call.

All scams have a similar theme which requires you to rush, has a significant and concerning demand or an amazing benefit which means you want to act now.

This is combined with either aggressive or demanding members of staff and/or the demand to transfer money.

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HMRC scam attempts are made by numerous channels including emails, text messages, WhatsApp messages, social media, and phone calls.

The phone calls are often an automated message telling you there’s an issue with your account, press 1 to speak with someone, if you press 1 you are taken through to an overseas contact centre.

HMRC investigates suspicious calls as well as all other scams activities.

If you search for “HMRC scams reporting form” you can submit information to them.

If you are subject to a scam then immediately get hold of Action Fraud in England and Wales online or calling them on 0300 123 2040. In Scotland you should phone Police Scotland on 101.

Scambusters Mail bag – answering your scam questions

What do I do if someone comes to my door and I think it is a scam?

Scambusters say: “As soon as you can close down the conversation, do not let them into your home.

“If they are within your home and you feel threatened, make an excuse to go to another room and call the Police immediately.

“If the person has left then do the same and call a relative. It’s important to report incidents like this to your local trading standards officer as well. They can be reached through your local authority.”

Which emails can I trust?

Scambusters say: “Great question, now most email accounts filter out scam and spam emails but scammers are always changing where they send emails from so that they can get through the spam filters, so you should always be on the lookout.

“If you receive an email you’re not expecting, look at the email address it’s coming from including clicking on the email address so it shows it as well as the name.

“The first check is does it look consistent, is the name the same as the email address. If not, delete it.

“Secondly when you hover the mouse over a link what comes up? Does the link look consistent with the firm name and their website? If not, delete it. If it is, still never click on the link but instead google and visit the website this way. If the result does not come up at the top or close to the top of Google we would recommend not visiting it.”

Tip of the week

Always make a payment with a credit card as you have the greatest level of protection.

If anything goes wrong with a purchase you are fully covered.

Remember: If you have received a text you think is a scam then you can forward to 7726 or take a screenshot and send it to

If you are receiving lots of unwanted phone calls or text messages you can also consider removing your details from data brokers, ensuring that you use a right to object to processing of your data.

You can learn more about this on Rightly to stop the sharing of your data exposing you to scams.

And you can take a free training course on how to fight against scams on

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