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HMRC phone scam warning – Britons urged to hang up without pressing any other buttons

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A call from HMRC during which a person is told there is an outstanding fraud case would no doubt be hugely worrying for a person to receive. Shockingly, this is a way in which scammers have been attempting to gain access to people’s personal and financial information.

HMRC has issued warnings following reports of a phone scam, whereby individuals are told there is an outstanding fraud case in their name.

Victims are told to press one on their keypad, with the scammer claiming this would connect them to an officer to discuss their case.

The fraudsters can also falsely warn that if people don’t comply, a warrant will be issued for their arrest.

Cifas, the UK’s fraud prevention service, has warned the scam technique has been seen in various other ways.

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Examples include purporting to be calling from supermarkets, where they direct individuals to speak to a member of their “fraud team” about a large order which is allegedly due to be debited from their account.

They are scam calls, and the public are advised to hang up without pressing any other buttons on their keypad, Cifas said.

“If you do press a button following the message then you will likely be connected to a criminal who will attempt to trick you out of your personal details,” the fraud prevention service’s alert stated.

Those who receive scam calls purporting to be from HMRC can report the attempts on the GOV.UK website.

“If you have provided your details in response to a scam call, report it to Action Fraud or Police Scotland,” Cifas said.

Amber Burridge, Head of Fraud Intelligence for Cifas, said: “Throughout the pandemic we have seen that fraudsters have been quick to respond to new and emerging issues in order to steal information and money.

“Although lockdown will begin to ease over the next few months, criminals will try even harder to use opportunities such as the vaccine roll-out to commit fraud.

“Now is not the time to be letting our guard down, and we must continue to be ever vigilant of the threat of fraud.”

They will never be asked for their banking details or passwords for online accounts.

If a person has provided their details in response to this type of scam, they’re directed to report it to their bank immediately, as well as to Action Fraud or Police Scotland.

Ms Burridge said: “The Census is providing criminals with a unique opportunity to steal people’s personal and financial data which can be used to commit identity theft.

“ONS has confirmed that they will never call people and ask for this type of personal information, and if anyone is contacted by someone wanting to discuss their Census form then they must hang immediately and report the incident to Action Fraud.”



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