In our ever-growing technological world, scam artists are becoming more frequent, and harder to spot. These scammers can pretend to be anyone, but one becoming increasingly more common are those claiming to be from HMRC.
Particularly with the Covid-19 Pandemic, HMRC have seen scams increase by 87% between 2019-20 and 2020-21.
Whilst HMRC are moving to a digital service, they must still follow the law and have numerous legal documents, to support any bills they send you or contact that they make. When confronted with a singular piece of information from HMRC, you have time to verify it before charges would be made or correspondence followed up.
They prey on your fear of litigious proceedings and so it is understandable that victims would try and follow all the steps laid out for them to avoid such action taken against them. They also could be promising tax refunds, that they are dealing with your benefit claim etc, and the prospect may seem too sweet to turn down.
If you ever get one of these calls, emails, or letters, don’t rush, take your time to see that it seems right.
General things to know:
Letters can be the hardest to spot, purely because it is how we are used to seeing HMRC correspondence. However, if you are not expecting a letter from HMRC it is always best to err on the side of caution.
The following are things to pay attention to:
Calls and texts are the methods used most frequently by scam artists when targeting their victims, but why would HMRC do this? They are a Government department and have to keep records of what they are doing. How are they going to do this with a call? Be sure to look out for the following:
Another common method for scams, usually involving clicking on a link which will lead you to an unsafe website. Put simply, if you get a link, it almost without fail has not come from HMRC.
What do I do if I think I may be receiving illegitimate correspondence?
You can report potential scam activity to email@example.com by providing screenshots or forwarded emails to them to analyse.
What do I do if I am still not sure or think I may have fallen victim to a scam?
If you are still worried, we are able to assist in all aspects of a matter that may exhibit the above concerns, and the legal team at Garrick Law will be able to draft in specialist’s in your professional field if necessary.
At Garrick Law, we would be able to assist in any case, and direct you to the relevant specialist if needs be.
This Guest Blog was written by Forensic Investigations & Taxation Services Ltd (FITS London).
FITS have many years of working in HMRC and the private sector in restructuring, tax and insolvency work, so can offer advice to such clients, to see if they can help them out of that situation, whether that means they either don’t want to liquidate, don’t need to liquidate or can’t liquidate and they need someone to negotiate with HMRC and/or other creditors on their behalf. Click here to view FITS London’s website.