Cifas warns against bogus HMRC tax refund and rebate scams
28 January 2020
- Cifas warns taxpayers to be vigilant for HMRC scams ahead of self-assessment deadline
Cifas, the UK’s leading fraud prevention service, is warning UK taxpayers not to fall victim to fraudsters as the 31 January deadline for completing self-assessment tax returns fast approaches.
Common techniques that fraudsters use to target taxpayers include emails and text messages offering refunds with clickable links leading to ‘phishing’ websites, and pre-recorded messages allegedly from HMRC claiming action is being taken to recover unpaid tax.
HMRC has confirmed that over the past year it has received around 900,000 reports from the public about suspicious HMRC contact, with more than 100,000 of these being phone scams, and over 620,000 about bogus tax rebates.
Mike Haley, CEO of Cifas, said: ‘With the self-assessment tax return deadline fast approaching, it is easy to see how fraudsters can take advantage of taxpayers rushing to paying their tax bill - especially if they are being threatened with legal action out of the blue.
‘If you are contacted by someone claiming to be from HMRC then don’t respond, and remember never to give out any personal details, download attachments or click on links. If you receive an email or text, then report it to HMRC straight away so they can take the appropriate action to help prevent others losing their cash to criminals.’
If you’re unsure the communication you’ve received from the HMRC is legitimate you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information contact:
Head of Communications, Cifas
T: +44 (0)20 3004 3654
Notes to editors
For more details on avoiding tax scams visit GOV.UK here.
More information about spotting scams is available on the Which? website.
Cifas is an independent, not-for-profit membership organisation that protects businesses and individuals through effective and secure data and intelligence sharing between the private, public and third sectors. In 2018, Cifas member organisations prevented over £1.4 billion of fraud losses.
Cifas data is included in the Office of National Statistics England and Wales Crime Statistics of police recorded crime and works alongside law enforcement agencies in tackling fraud. Cifas also offers Protective Registration for individuals whose identities are at risk of being used fraudulently. We also run a scheme called Protecting the Vulnerable, offered free of charge to local authorities to protect those under the care of Court Deputies who are unable to access financial products and whose identities may be at risk.
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