Police warning as fraudsters make tax scam calls
Police are warning people of scammers claiming to be from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) tricking them into thinking they owe tax or debts and asking them to pay or purchase Google or Amazon gift cards.
Norfolk Constabulary has received three reports of victims being scammed by this method in Norfolk last week alone trying to claim a total of over £12,000.
In the first case, the victim, a man in his 30s from King’s Lynn, was phoned last Thursday (9 July 2020) and told he owed outstanding tax and legal action would be taken if he did not settle his bill. He subsequently paid out £8,000 into different bank accounts.
Another victim, in her 70s, in Great Yarmouth, was called last Friday (10 July 2020) to say she owed £2,397.64 for specific tax years and asked to pay in cash or Google Play vouchers. A third victim, in her 30s, in Wymondham, received a call on the same day (10 July 2020) from someone claiming to be from tax fraud investigation to say she owed £1,999 and had purchased Amazon and Google gift cards and sent the codes to the fraudsters.
Chief Inspector Matt Dyson said: "We would like to make residents aware that they may be contacted via a phone call, a voicemail or text message to try to convince them they are being called by HMRC about unpaid tax, sometimes threatening legal action or arrest if it is not paid urgently.
"Victims are often asked to pay in vouchers, such as Google Play, Amazon or i-Tunes where the codes can be passed on easily to the fraudsters. We are asking the public to be aware and read the guide below provided by Action Fraud, the National Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Centre.”
How to protect yourself:
- HMRC will never use texts to tell you about a tax rebate or penalty or ever ask for payment in this way.
- Telephone numbers and text messages can easily be spoofed. You should never trust the number you see on your telephone display.
- If you receive a suspicious cold call, end it immediately.
Report fraud and cyber crime to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040