HMRC warns about new tax scam costing victims thousands

20 December, 2017

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has issued a warning about a new tax scam tricking victims into handing over thousands of pounds.

The tax office said fraudsters are preying on victims by cold calling them and impersonating an HMRC member of staff.

Once they’ve gained the victim’s trust, the scammer will tell them they owe large amounts of tax which they can only pay off through digital vouchers and gift cards.

HMRC says Apple’s iTunes Store cards are among those being requested.

According to figures from Action Fraud, there have been more than 1,500 reported cases of this kind of scam, with the majority of victims over the age of 65. They show that the average victim suffered financial loss of £1,150.

Angela MacDonald, HMRC’s Director General of Customer Services, said the tax office “would never request the settling of debt through such a method”.

“These scammers are very confident, convincing and utterly ruthless. We don’t want to see anyone fall victim to this scam just before Christmas. That’s why we’re working closely with crime fighters to ensure taxpayers know how to avoid it,” she said.

“These scams often prey on vulnerable people. We urge people with elderly relatives to warn them about this scam and remind them that they should never trust anyone who phones them out of the blue and asks them to pay a tax bill. If you think you’ve been a victim you should contact Action Fraud immediately.”

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