As we have noted before, fraudsters are using every part of our confusion and anxiety from the epidemic to try and scam us. There are always HMRC scams doing the rounds but all of sudden there are a lot of emails and texts about “third lockdown grants” or “a new tax refund program for dealing with the coronavirus”. The emails and texts include a link to claim your funds. The link leads to a fake website which asks for personal details including a credit card number. In the first 6 months of the pandemic the HMRC detected a 73% increase in email phishing attacks, additionally they reported 199,621 cases of phone call scams and nearly 60,000 cases of fake texts.
COVID REFUNDS AND THIRD LOCKDOWN GRANTS DO NOT EXIST
Tips and Advice
- Dear who? – The HMRC will always address any communication to you personally
- Only real with your Tax Code – HMRC will always use your ‘tax code reference number’ in an automated voicemail message or phone call to you
- Keep it to yourself – HMRC will not request personal or financial information any form other than by letter
- WhatsApp message from HMRC? – It’s a fake
- Don’t – be pressured into acting quickly, this is a ‘red flag’ and sign of a scam
- Call them to check – the HMRC helpline is 0300 200 3300, have your National Insurance Number ready when you call
- Report – you can report suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to firstname.lastname@example.org and texts to 60599. Be sure to make a note of the date of the phone call, the phone number, and the content of the phone call.
- Contact – your bank or credit card company if you have already given out financial details
- Still Unsure? – Call Reassura 0800 888 6400 and one of our fraud advisors will help you to stay safe
- To report a fraud – and receive a police crime reference number call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use their online fraud reporting tool
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