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Research shows that one in two UK adults have, or know someone who has, been financially scammed in the last year.

As the deadline approaches for taxpayers to file their tax returns, HMRC is warning people to be vigilant and report scam texts, emails and phone calls from fraudsters.

The run-up to 31st January deadline for the 2022/23 tax year is potentially a period of rich pickings for fraudsters with 12 million people in the UK submitting a self-assessment tax return and HMRC being ‘on their minds’.

Those who have been scammed report that they have been texted with offers of a rebate, and then asked for their tax details. Some texts even carry threats of potential arrest for unpaid tax or tax avoidance.

It’s important that self-assessment taxpayers know that HMRC does not contact people in this way.

Scammers are also using QR codes in a bid to trick people into uploading their details, but HMRC uses QR codes in two different ways:

  • in their letters and correspondence but only to take the user to guidance on GOV.UK — they are never used for inputting of personal information.
  • when you are logged into your HMRC account to redirect you to your bank login page.

If a QR code is used in communications, you’ll be able to see them on the genuine HMRC contacts page.

HMRC is calling on people to report all phishing emails, suspicious phones calls and texts to and advises to then delete the messages.

HMRC’s fraud team is keen for people to report the scam every time it happens, even if it’s the same one or similar to a previous scam.

Remember – do not open attachments or click on links in emails or text messages as they may contain malicious software and redirect you to a misleading website.

If you ask your tax adviser or accountant to handle your tax return on your behalf then please be especially careful of any scams purporting to come from HMRC. As your agent, your accountant or tax adviser will liaise directly with HMRC on your behalf. If you are suspicious of anything, then do get in touch with us, and report any suspicious texts or emails to HMRC.

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McBrides Chartered Accountants