HSKS Greenhalgh are warning businesses and individuals to be vigilant, after several clients reported receiving telephone calls from scammers purporting to be from HMRC.
Many were threatened with court action if they did not pay ‘outstanding amounts of tax’, in some cases up to £10,000, immediately.
As HSKS Greenhalgh Director Martin Tomes explains, the scammers have gone to great lengths to convince the victims that they are genuinely representing HMRC.
Says Martin: “Clients are being referred to a HMRC website which showed the same telephone number the scammer was calling from. In another instance, an appointment was made for our client to visit a local HMRC office in the next couple of weeks to set up a payment plan.
“Whilst the majority of our clients who have been affected have contacted us first to confirm whether or not they have any outstanding tax to pay, due to the threatening nature of the calls regrettably one or two have felt pressured into making payments. Fortunately, in most of those cases, the bank fraud teams have stopped the payments or the payments have been refunded.
“Although most of the cases didn’t result in a financial loss, we are still keen for people to be aware of what is happening, to save themselves the distress which these scams can cause”.
So, what action should you take if you feel you have been the victim of a scam call?
Martin Tomes advises:
“HMRC will only ever call you asking for payment on a debt that you are already aware of, either having received a letter about it, or after you’ve told them you owe some tax, for example through your self-assessment return. They will always include your taxpayer reference number in any dealings they have with you.
“Please think very carefully before disclosing valuable personal information such bank or credit card details over the phone and we recommend checking with your accountant if you have one, before making any payments”.
If you think you have received a bogus HMRC call you should forward details of the call to firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 if you suffer financial loss.