Warwickshire Trading Standards is aware of a large number of residents receiving threatening automated telephone messages that falsely claim to be from HMRC or Customs and Excise.
The automated phone calls state that the recipient must not ignore the phone call and phone back, with a threat of legal action if they don’t. The fraudsters then claim that the recipient owes money for unpaid taxes, sometimes claiming they will visit the residents home, arrest them or take goods!
This is a scam. Never phone back or engage them in conversation. Never pay any money to unsolicited telephone callers.
Methods fraudsters use:
Spoofed calls: Fraudsters cold call victims using a spoofed number and convince them that they owe unpaid tax to HMRC.
Voicemails: Fraudsters leave victims automated voicemails saying that they owe HMRC unpaid taxes. When victims call back on the number provided, they are told that there is a warrant out in their name and if they don’t pay, the police will arrest them
Text messages: They may also use text messages that ask victims to urgently call back on the number provided. When victims call back, they are told that there is a case being built against them for an outstanding debt and they must pay immediately.
One 87 year old victim recently told the BBC he was phoned by fraudsters who claimed to be from HMRC stating there was an arrest warrant out in his name. They told him it would be cancelled if he bought £500 in iTunes gift cards at Tesco.
The man bought the cards and gave them the serial numbers. But when they asked for a further £1,300 in vouchers, he became suspicious and hung up.
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 telephones display.
- If you receive a suspicious cold call, end it immediately.
For more information about our work, please visit www.safeinwarwickshire.com/cybercrime
Be Cyber Streetwise is a cross-government campaign, funded by the National Cyber Security Programme. They aim to measurably and significantly improve the online safety behaviour and confidence of consumers and small businesses (SMEs).
Get Safe Online is the UK’s leading source of factual and easy-to-understand information on online safety. Their website offers advice on how you can protect yourself, your computers and devices, and your business against the likes of fraud, identity theft, viruses and other potential online problems.