ESB Accounatncy warns about self-assessment scams
Scammers posing as HMRC are using the 31 January tax self-assessment deadline to try to defraud people, chartered accountancy body ICAEW has warned.
We are warning people not to fall victim to these scams, and to check that any emails, phone calls or text messages they receive are genuine.
We have heard of clients receiving scam emails which claim to be from accountants. The scam emails said that HMRC had changed its bank details, and asked for money to be transferred to a different account. Fraudsters also included bank details in the emails so money could be transferred.
HMRC has published a checklist which can help people identify whether a phone call, email or text message is genuine. They may be fraudulent if they:
offer a refund, tax rebate or grant
ask for personal information, such as bank details
tell you to transfer money
Are misspelled or from an email address that looks wrong.
HMRC will never contact you directly asking you to pay money into a bank account.
Mike Fell, HMRC Head of Cyber Operations, said: “Criminals text, email or phone taxpayers offering spurious tax refunds or threatening them with arrest if they don’t immediately pay fictitious tax owed.
“HMRC is a well-known brand, which criminals abuse to add credibility to their scams.”
“If someone texts, calls or emails claiming to be from HMRC, saying that you are due a tax refund or owe tax, or asks for bank or other personal details, it might be a scam. Check GOVUK for our scams checklist and to report tax scams.”
HMRC is also warning people to be aware of websites that charge for government services – such as call connection sites – that are in fact free or charged at local call rates. Other companies charge people for help getting ‘tax refunds’. One way to safely claim a tax refund for free is to log into a Personal Tax Account.
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