Always be careful when approached by people claiming to be HMRC, either via websites, emails, letters, text messages or phone calls. To help you decide if a contact from HMRC is genuine, guidance is available that gives examples of the different methods fraudsters use to get you to disclose personal information.
HMRC have recently updated their list of known scammers. If you think you have received an HMRC-related phishing/bogus email or text message, then you can check it against the examples shown in the guide. For example, HMRC will never send notifications of a tax rebate/refund or ask you disclose personal or payment information by email; this guidance provides you with a list of email addresses that that HMRC know are being used by scammers in an attempt to trick you into revealing personal information.
A recent scam involving iTunes vouchers has been highlighted by Action Fraud. Victims are being contacted by telephone and advised that they have an outstanding tax bill. They are told that legal action will be taken against them if do not pay, including having their homes taken away. The fraudsters say that to avoid this HMRC will accept iTunes cards in high denominations (£500 and £100). This is just one example of the inventive ways in which scammers try and get you to part with your money.
What to do if you think you might be a victim of this type of fraud
If you believe you have been a victim of fraud or you are unsure of an email address, then you should report it to HMRC by forwarding the email/text message to firstname.lastname@example.org and then deleting it. Do not open any attachments or click on any links within the email or text message, as they may contain malicious software or direct you to a bogus website.
Useful link: HMRC list of known scammers