As the tax year has now ended and HM Revenue & Customs make a start on reviewing potential refunds for those who are not in the self-assessment system, HM Revenue & Customs have issued a warning to everyone who is not familiar to the UK tax system to be vigilant to ensure that they do not become a victim of tax refund scams.

According to HM Revenue & Customs, criminals often target young individuals or the elderly as these groups are “more likely to be less familiar with the UK tax system”.

HM Revenue & Customs has warned tax payers to be especially vigilant about so called “Springtime refund scams”. In Spring 2018, HM Revenue & Customs received 250,000 reports of tax scams.

Fraudsters will often send messages supposedly from HM Revenue & Customs either by text, telephone calls or voicemails during April and May with tax refund scams. This is the time when HM Revenue & Customs are working on legitimate refunds.

The messages from the fraudsters are designed to extract personal or financial information from the individual. Text messages are often sent to young adults who tend to manage their finances via their mobile phones.

HM Revenue & Customs have warned individuals to be wary of text message, calls or voicemails purporting to be from them. This is because HM Revenue & Customs will never send a text message, telephone the individual or leave a voicemail regarding refunds or to request bank details.

HM Revenue & Customs will only write to the individual regarding any refund due to them.

HM Revenue & Customs have said that they are shutting down hundreds of sites a week associated with these scams.

Angela MacDonald who is the Head of Customer Services at HM Revenue & Customs has said:

“We are determined to protect honest people from these fraudsters who will stop at nothing to make their phishing scams appear legitimate.

If you do receive an email, a text or a call, please do not respond and report it to HM Revenue & Customs so that more online criminals are stopped in their tracks.”

If you do receive a message, please take care and do not respond or provide any information if you are not sure it is genuine. Please either speak to your professional advisor if you have one, or by contacting HM Revenue & Customs using one of the telephone numbers of online services available from GOV.UK.

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Author: Anthony Barron, Tax Manager, Plus Accounting

Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal, belong solely to the blog owner and do not represent those of Plus Accounting. All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site.