With just a week to go until the 31 January tax self assessment deadline, scammers posing as HMRC are using various scams to try to defraud people, ICAEW has warned
ICAEW members have reported their clients receiving scam emails which claim to be from accountants.
The scam emails said that HMRC had changed its bank details, and asked for money to be transferred to a different account. Fraudsters also included bank details in the emails so money could be transferred.
Anita Monteith, ICAEW tax policy manager, said: ‘Opportunistic fraudsters are using the looming tax deadline to trick people into transferring money, so it’s important that you are vigilant and act with caution.
‘Do not give out personal information, download attachments or click on links in unexpected text messages or emails.’
HMRC has published a checklist which can help people identify whether a phone call, email or text message is genuine.
They may be fraudulent if they are unexpected; offer a refund, tax rebate or grant; ask for personal information, such as bank details; are threatening; tell the recipient to transfer money; or are misspelled or from an email address that looks wrong.
HMRC is also warning people to be aware of websites that charge for government services – such as call connection sites – that are in fact free or charged at local call rates. Other companies charge people for help getting ‘tax refunds’.
Mike Fell, HMRC head of cyber operations, said: ‘Criminals text, email or phone taxpayers offering spurious tax refunds or threatening them with arrest if they don’t immediately pay fictitious tax owed.
‘HMRC is a well-known brand, which criminals abuse to add credibility to their scams.’