Fraudsters often try to take advantage of the 31 July deadline for submitting tax credits renewal information.
The fraudulent emails, texts or calls claim to be from HMRC and often promise money back in the form of a tax rebate together with a click-through link to a replica of the HMRC website. The fraudsters then try and steal personal details such as bank or credit card details of unwitting recipients who in some cases even transfer money for a bogus overpayment.
As the deadline approaches, HMRC is warning around 1.5 million tax credits customers to be alerted to scams that mimic government communications to make them appear genuine. In the 12 months to 30 April 2023, HMRC responded to more than 170,234 referrals of suspicious contact from the public. More than 68,437 of these offered bogus tax rebates.
Typical scam examples include:
- emails or texts claiming an individual’s details aren’t up to date and that they risk losing out on payments that are due to them;
- emails or texts claiming that a direct debit payment hasn’t ‘gone through’;
- phone calls threatening arrest if people don’t immediately pay fake tax owed;
- claims that the victim’s National Insurance number has been used in fraud; and
- emails or texts offering spurious tax rebates or bogus grants or support.
HMRC’s Director General for Customer Services, said:
‘Tax scams come in many forms and we’re urging customers to be alert to the tactics used by fraudsters and never to let yourselves be rushed. If someone contacts you saying they’re from HMRC and asks you to give personal information or urgently transfer money, be on your guard. Search ‘HMRC scams’ advice on GOV.UK to find out how to report scams and help us fight these crimes.’
HMRC is currently sending the annual tax credit renewal packs and expects all packs to be with recipients by the 15 June 2023. Universal Credit is expected to fully replace tax credits, and other legacy benefits (including Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance, Income-Based Jobseeker’s Allowance) by the end of 2024.