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ICAEW warns of increase in tax-related telephone scams

13 July: Scammers making threatening calls purporting to come from HMRC have been active in recent weeks, warns ICAEW’s Tax Faculty.

The automated phone call scam leaves a message saying that HMRC is filing a lawsuit and an instruction to press one to speak to a caseworker to make a payment.

The scam is not new, but has been prevalent in recent weeks and the scammers often target elderly and vulnerable taxpayers.

Scammers also target times in the annual tax cycle when they are aware that taxpayers may be expecting to receive refunds and HMRC is currently issuing PAYE tax refunds for 2019/20. The government’s COVID-19 support measures are also, unfortunately, being seen as an opportunity by scammers.

It is worth reinforcing to taxpayers that HMRC does not include active links or attachments in its emails.

HMRC publishes helpful examples of HMRC related phishing emails and bogus contact and genuine HMRC contact and recognising phishing emails and texts.

The Tax Faculty recommends that all scams are reported as explained in HMRC’s guidance: ‘Avoid and report internet scams and phishing’.