Watch out for tax scams, warns HMRC

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is warning taxpayers to stay alert to tax scams after a surge in fraudulent activity.

The report comes after the February Self Assessment deadline, when self-employed business owners expect to be contacted by the tax authority.

According to the notice, criminals are attempting to obtain taxpayers’ Government Gateway logins and other personal details – such as their bank account, passport, driving licence, address, date of birth, and National Insurance number – to “submit bogus tax refund claims”.

HMRC says people of all ages are being targeted on social media platforms by fraudsters to “borrow” their identities for a cut of the tax refund “risk-free”.

But in reality, the fraudster will use your identity for personal gain, leaving you to deal with the consequences.

The tax authority urged taxpayers to contact HMRC directly should they need to discuss anything in relation to Self Assessment or other tax matters.

Commenting on the report, Simon Cubitt, Head of Cybercrime at HMRC, said: “People need to think extremely carefully before they involve themselves in an arrangement like this, because if something looks too good to be true, then it almost certainly is.

“Those who get involved risk becoming the victim of blackmail, threats of violence and wider abuse of their personal information, as criminals seek to exploit them further.”

Nearly 800,000 tax-related scams were reported to HMRC in the 12 months to November 2021 – the latest data available.

Taxpayers can report fraud to HMRC by clicking here.

For help and advice with related matters, please get in touch with our team today.