Con men pretending to represent HM Revenue and Customs have returned to an ‘old school’ method of scamming by targeting landlines again.
HMRC is concerned about the cold-callers that it has issued a warning to taxpayers - after stressing that criminals taking their name in vain are moving away from scams via email and text.
The organisation is satisfied that it is managing to tackle these newer forms of fraud- but admits that this has paved the way for the criminals to return to old ways.
However - the aim is still the same - to steal cash from taxpayers. Phone scams often target the elderly and vulnerable using HMRC’s brand as it is well-known and adds credibility to a fraudster’s call.
HMRC received more than 60,000 reports of phone scams in six months up to January 2019. This is an increase of 360% compared to the six months before this.
Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Mel Stride explained “If you receive a suspicious call to your landline from someone purporting to be from HMRC which threatens legal action, to put you in jail, or payment using vouchers: hang-up and report it to HMRC who can work to take them off the network.”
Head of Action Fraud, Pauline Smith, said: “If a caller asks you to make a payment, log in to an online account or offers you a deal be cautious. The tax authority 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 us you owe some tax.”