HMRC chief executive receives scam tax call as fraud reports increase
Jim Harra, the chief executive of HMRC, has revealed that he received a call from fraudsters pretending to be the taxman.
Mr Harra issued a warning on Twitter revealing that the HMRC had seen an increase in reported scams.
He advised the public to report any suspect contact from criminals but said that HMRC was doing what it could to warn people of the scam.
He said: “As chief executive of HMRC, even I received a scam call this week.”
The fake call was a common scam HMRC has been hearing about. It features a pre-recorded message from someone caliming to be from HMRC and falsely stating his national insurance number had been compromised.
HMRC said earlier this week that NI scams allowed fraudsters to demand payment on a fake debt or to harvest personal and financial details, The Daily Telegraph reports.
The tax body released figures this week revealing that the number of phone scam reports tripled from 10,997 in December to 33,053 in January, as people worked from home. Reports of scam texts and emails also soared last month as criminals tried to cash in.
Criminals pretending to be HMRC officials have been targeting taxpayers at the height of the self-assessment tax return period, usually offering bogus tax rebates. They have also called people directly to threaten legal action over unpaid tax, or sent emails or texts offering fake support or grants.
Scammers have also taken advantage of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic to approach people with fake offers of government support for people and businesses.
In the past year, HMRC has responded to 259,675 reports of phone scams, up 31% on the previous year.
People who are worried that they have fallen victim to a scam should contact their bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud.