July 2016 - An Inspector Calls? Possibly not . . .
Having worked in personal tax for over thirty years, I thought I had seen and heard it all. Over the last ten years I regret to say that I have come across numerous email scams set up by fraudsters but I am also pleased to report, at least in my experience, that no clients have been caught out so far.
Last week, within an hour of returning from my annual summer holiday, I received a telephone call at home. There followed a recorded message, supposedly from HM Revenue & Customs, telling me that I was the subject of a current lawsuit regarding taxes owed and that if I wanted to speak to somebody about this I should dial ‘1’ now. Needless to say, I didn’t, but I did get on to HMRC straight away. They are aware of a telephone scam which is currently doing the rounds and suggested that if I had dialled ‘1’, I might have been put through to someone who would have tried to get payment from me there and then.
I know that most of us would not part with our money at this point but I am also aware that some would find a call like this distressing to a greater or lesser degree (I have to say that I did). If nothing else, it is an invasion of your personal space. Please note that HMRC will never make threatening calls in this manner and that if do you receive one, you can report it to the authorities. There is an Action Fraud Team telephone number, which you should be able to obtain from your accountant or professional tax adviser. As and when making a relevant report, please note that you will be given a reference number at that time. Any report can be made anonymously.
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