A wave of ‘springtime scams’ which could be set to hit the phones and computers of tens of thousands of people over the coming weeks. HMRC have now issued a warning about the bogus messages in a bid to stop people falling victim to them.
Around 250,000 reports of the scams were received this time last year – that’s an average of around 2,500 a day.
Scammers are using the spring to target people as genuine tax refunds are also sent out at this time of year by the HMRC.
The Government says that young adults, vulnerable people and pensioners could be particularly at risk of being targeted and falling victim to the fraud – primarily because they may have had limited contact with the tax system in the past.
What to look out for…….
The so-called ‘springtime tax scams’ target victims with the offer of a tax rebate, primarily via email or text. The scam is conducted at this time of year to coincide with legitimate rebates being processed following the recent start of the new tax year.
Victims are encouraged to provide bank details in exchange for such a payment, which is often promised to be worth hundreds of pounds. A text message, for example, may appear to be from HMRC and asks the recipient to complete a form through a provided link.
Such an action is done through a fake government website, allowing scammers to harvest private information and steal money.
In reality, HMRC will issue any tax repayments automatically – either directly into bank accounts or, if no such account has been provided previously, via cheque.
The department has warned the public, but particularly young adults and the elderly, to be vigilant when receiving email or text messages. They recommend that anyone who receives a suspicious email or text to not respond to such, and instead advise reporting it to HMRC.
This will not only protect the individual but allow more online criminals to be stopped in their tracks.
You can forward suspicious emails and details of suspicious calls to firstname.lastname@example.org. Text scams can be forwarded instead to 60599.
Anyone who has suffered a financial loss due to such correspondence should contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit their website.