Warning: Can you really trust that call from HMRC is genuine?

Jul, 2016

A call from HMRC wouldn’t feature high on many peoples list of their most wanted calls but at the moment there are more reasons to be concerned as HMRC are reporting that many customers are receiving bogus calls as part of an organised Phishing Scheme.

Imagine the scene, you get a call from Sandra a pleasant woman who works at HMRC. She kindly informs you that your PAYE account is in credit by over a thousand pounds. She offers to refund the overdue payments immediately if you provide her with your bank details and personal information.

Now hopefully for most at this stage alarm bells will start to ring and a few simple questions will come to mind:

  1. Why hasn’t my accountant or payroll provider advised me of this overpayment?
  2. When have HMRC contact anyone directly regarding an overpayment and been so keen to pay it back so quickly?
  3. Don’t overpayments take weeks or months to be refunded, how come I can get it today?

However, would you be so calm and questioning if the call from HMRC wasn’t so friendly but instead demanding money for an unpaid tax bill, possibly citing fines or worse for immediate non-payment. Would you immediately think this was genuine and comply or would you question it?

In either event both of these scenarios are taking place in significant numbers to warrant a warning from HMRC for people to be vigilent and not give out bank or personal information without being completely comfortable that it is genuine.

Additional Reported Phone Scams involving HMRC

Another telephone scam that’s been reported is where a recorded message is left, allegedly from HMRC, stating that they are bringing a lawsuit against the individual for non-payment. The recipient is asked to phone 0161 8508494 and press “1” to speak to the officer dealing with the case. This scam has been widely reported on the internet at whocalledme and seems to be targeting older people.

This is another scam designed to elicit personal information and bank details and under no circumstances should you reply to the message.

How to protect your personal information

If you cannot verify the identity of the person making the call you should not disclose any personal details. You can check the validity of any such requests by calling HMRC using verified numbers published on your paperwork or the HMRC Website.

If you suspect you have received a fake call then report the information to Action Fraud, or you can call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2050 (Please note this number will be charged at your normal network rate). They are open Monday to Friday 09:00 – 18:00.

If you are concerned about your outstanding PAYE liability at any point the first step would be to review your own records by running the HMRC Remittance Advice Report (P32) in QTAC Software and comparing the total liability with the amount due on your HMRC online services account.

Alternatively, if you are an outsourced payroll customer, check your reports and again compare them against your account with HMRC either online or via verified phone numbers.

Remember play it safe and don’t give out personnel information.

Need Help?

Any questions regarding the above please contact the team at Qtac, they will be happy to help.