During the Covid 19 pandemic there has been an increased reliance upon digital communication, video chats replacing face to face meetings and e-mails replacing letters. The government have provided a large number of support packages and this has been an opportunity for scammers to try to obtain personal information.
Common techniques fraudsters use include calling taxpayers and offering a fake tax refund, and pretending to be HMRC by texting or emailing a link, which will take customers to a false page where their bank details are stolen. Criminals have also been known to threaten victims with arrest or imprisonment if a bogus tax bill is not paid immediately.
It said more than 100,000 of the reports were about phone scams, in addition to 620,000 about bogus tax rebates which increase in January when tax returns are usually submitted.
But because Covid-19 has introduced Furlough claims, SEISS claims for the self-employed and a number of grant funds from local government, scammers are sending out messages trying to obtain information in connection with the support measures.
HMRC will not ask you for personal information, bank details etc by text or email. Individuals should never give out private information, reply to unsolicited text messages, download attachments or click on links in texts or emails which they are not expecting.
Forward details of suspicious calls or emails to email@example.com, and texts to 60599.
For more guidance check the government website on staying safe online during Covid-19