Police have received a number of calls from people across Derbyshire who have been contacted by scam callers alleging to be from HMRC.
The calls, which are targeting both mobile and landline numbers, suggest that the recipient owes money to HMRC. They then advise that they can take payment in the form of vouchers, from a company such as Amazon, Google Play or iTunes.
In some cases callers can be intimidating and aggressive and will threaten arrest. These calls are being received from several 0300 numbers, which are official HMRC numbers that have been cloned for the purpose of these scam calls.
If you receive such a call, do not trust the number displayed on your phone. Hang up and call HMRC directly from the contact details on their website.
Tammy Barnes, Fraud Protect Officer for Derbyshire police, said: “Phone scams are widely reported, and generally attempt to target elderly and vulnerable people. HMRC is a well-known brand, which criminals abuse to add credibility to their scams.
“If someone calls you claiming to be from HMRC saying that you will be arrested, that we are filing a lawsuit against you, or even that you are owed a tax refund, and asks for information such as your name, credit card or bank details then it is a scam.
“If you can’t verify the identity of the caller, we recommend that you do not speak to them.”
There are a number of simple steps that can help keep you safe from this, and other similar, scams:
Recognise the signs - genuine organisations like banks and HMRC will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your PIN, password or bank details.
Stay safe - don’t give out private information, reply to text messages, download attachments or click on links in emails you weren’t expecting.
Take action - forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to firstname.lastname@example.org and texts to 60599, or contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 to report any suspicious calls or use their online fraud reporting tool.
Remember, HMRC will never ask for payment in the form of a voucher, such as Amazon, Google Play or iTunes.
A spokesperson for HMRC said: “We will call people about outstanding tax bills, and sometimes use automated messages; however this would include your taxpayer reference number. If you are uncertain of the caller hang up and call HMRC directly to check – you can confirm our call centre numbers on GOV.UK if you are unsure. For tax credits we do not include your details in any voicemail messages.”
If you are in doubt about a call you receive, call HMRC back from a different phone and if using a landline always listen for a dial tone before making a call. Alternatively, speak to a family member or a friend and discuss the call. You can also contact Derbyshire Constabulary via our social media accounts or calling 101.
If you receive a call of this nature please report it to Action Fraud on Fraud 0300 123 2040 or www.actionfraud.police.uk.