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Is it a scam?

We've all received them.

The text telling us that we're in deep, deep trouble with HMRC, and if only we'd reply to the message IMMEDIATELY, they'll sort out this silly misunderstanding and get you back to being all nice and compliant.

Or the email telling you that you have a sizeable tax refund, despite the fact that you haven't actually submitted your tax return yet.

I've had friends fall foul of this, on the point of replying to the email until I gently ask the question:

'Have you ever given HMRC your email address?'

Of course, the answer is a resounding 'NO', and we can delete the email, safe in the knowledge that it's a scam.

It's just Barry the Robber chancing his arm.

But for the avoidance of doubt...

Here are five ways to spot a fraudster at work:

  1. The dodgy email address. Hover over the email address, and you can betcha' bottom dollar that it's not HMRC. Delete, delete, delete.

  2. An assurance that you have a tax rebate owing to you. HMRC will never contact you via email to tell you that you have a refund owing. Just never. And they'll absolutely never ask you to send your personal details in that same non-existent message. See point 1. about the dodgy email address.

  3. Links to a web page. The links will go to a web page that will certainly look the part, after all, these fraudsters have gone to a great deal of trouble to lure you in. Always use a different web page to access your online portal rather than clicking on the link.

  4. The scary 'Urgent Action Required' message. Designed to scare and intimidate. Don't fall for it. Contact HMRC directly, via your usual method rather than clicking that link. You'll find out that you're totally up to date, and you can delete and block.

  5. Generic greetings. HMRC are unfailingly polite. They'll address you by your name, like an adult. Please don't fall for the 'hello', or the 'Dear Sir/Madam', it's not HMRC. They have manners.

Do HMRC call you?

They can do.

If you're behind with your payments, HMRC will call you to discuss the matter, offering a further helpline. But remember, they won't ask for any financial information.

Fraudsters can often imitate HMRC, and put pressure on you to supply the information that they want.

HMRC would never do that, so don't be afraid to end the call.

Report, Report, Report!

You can report suspicious messages to HMRC via online services, email and via text.

Text - Forward any scam text messages to 60599



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