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Warning: Tax Credits Scammers

publication date: May 24, 2022

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is warning tax credits customers to be aware of scams and fraudsters who imitate the department in an attempt to steal their personal information or money.

About 2.1 million tax credits customers are expected to renew their annual claims by 31 July 2022 and could be more susceptible to the tactics used by criminals who mimic government messages to make them appear authentic.

In the 12 months, to April 2022, HMRC responded to nearly 277,000 referrals of suspicious contact received from the public. Fraudsters use phone calls, text messages and emails to try and dupe individuals – often trying to rush them to make decisions. HMRC will not ring anyone out of the blue threatening arrest – only criminals do that.

Typical scam examples include: 

  • phone calls threatening arrest if people don’t immediately pay fictitious tax owed. Sometimes they claim that the victim’s National Insurance number has been used fraudulently
  • emails or texts offering spurious tax rebates, bogus COVID-19 grants or claiming that a direct debit payment has failed

HMRC does not charge tax credits customers to renew their annual claims and is also urging them to be alert to misleading websites or adverts designed to make them pay for government services that should be free, often charging for a connection to HMRC phone helplines.

Customers can renew their tax credits for free via GOV.UK or the HMRC app and are advised to search GOV.UK to get the genuine information and guidance. 

HMRC has released a video to explain how tax credits customers can use the HMRC app to view, manage and update their details.

HMRC’s advice:

Stop

  • Take a moment to think before parting with your money or information. 
  • If a phone call, text or email is unexpected, don’t give out private information or reply, and don’t download attachments or click on links before checking on GOV.UK that the contact is genuine
  • Do not trust caller ID on phones. Numbers can be spoofed. 

Challenge

Protect