HMRC warn of new scams as tax deadline nears

HMRC has warned millions of self-employed people to watch out for scams in the run up to the Self Assessment deadline on 31 January, 2020.

One of the most common scams involves fraudsters pretending to be HMRC. Contact can be made over the phone, by text or over email.

There’s been a huge 900,000 reports of suspicious activity in the last 12 months.

What scams are HMRC warning against?

Around 100,000 were telephone based and 620,000 involved the bait of bogus rebates.

The scammers are asking you to hand over your bank details.

Popular scams include:

  • Tax refund and rebate – fraudsters offer a bogus refund and ask you to hand over your details so they can transfer it to you. One way of doing this is to direct people to a fake website. HMRC say they will never send tax rebate notifications by email or ask for personal details in this way’
  • Phone calls – a call is received offering a tax refund, or even ask you to pay a bogus tax bill.
  • WhatsApp and social media scams – HMRC say they do not send out WhatsApp messages.
  • Refund companies – this involves a “company” contacting you to apply for a tax refund for you.

HMRC Customer Protection team

HMRC has a Customer Protection team that hunts out and shuts down scams. But the tax body says you should take steps to make sure you don’t fall for a scam in the first place.

  • If you spot a scam HMRC email or phone call, forward details to (and send scam texts to 60599). If you’ve suffered financial loss because of one of these scams, you can contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040, or use their online fraud reporting tool