HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is warning taxpayers to be vigilant following reports that thieves are making phone calls pretending to be the taxman.
The fraudsters inform taxpayers they are due a tax rebate, and ask for their bank card details over the phone. They then attempt to take money from the account using the details provided. Victims risk having their bank accounts emptied and their personal details sold on to other organised criminal gangs.
The warning comes amid a recent surge in the number of tax scam “phishing” emails reported to HMRC. In the last three months, HMRC has shut down over 180 websites that were responsible for sending out the fake tax rebate emails.
Chris Hopson, Director of Customer Contact at HMRC said:
“We only ever contact customers who are due a tax refund in writing by post. We never use telephone calls, emails or external companies in these circumstances. We strongly urge anyone receiving such a phone call not to give any information to the caller, but report it to the police straightaway.
“If customers receive an email claiming to be from HMRC, we recommend they send it to us for investigation before deleting it permanently.”
HMRC thoroughly investigates phishing attacks and works with other law enforcement agencies in the UK and overseas. In the last 18 months, scam networks have been shut down in a number of countries, including Austria, Mexico, the UK, South Korea, the USA, Thailand and Japan.
HMRC strongly advises customers to:
Check the advice published at www.hmrc.gov.uk/security/index.htm to see if the email you have received is listed
Do not click on websites, links contained in suspicious emails or open attachments
Follow advice from www.getsafeonline.co.uk
If you have reason to believe that you have been the victim of an email scam, report the matter to your bank/card issuer as soon as possible. If in doubt please check with HMRC at http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/security/fraud-attempts.htm
From 6 April 2012 HMRC has increased the guideline rate which employers can use to reimburse employees for additional household expenses incurred because they have to work from home. For 2012-13 the guideline rate will be £4.00 per week.
During January, February or March you may get a PAYE Coding Notice from HMRC telling you what your new tax code will be for the tax year 2012-13. Your new tax code will be used by your employer or pension provider from the 6 April 2012 to make sure you pay the right amount of tax.
Not everyone needs to get a Coding Notice, so don't worry if you don't receive one - your employer or pension provider will still be able to update your tax code on the 6 April.
Your Coding Notice is for you to keep.
HMRC will send your new code to your employer or pension provider.
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) will be issuing new PAYE Payment Booklets for the year 2012-13 between 19 December 2011 and 31 March 2012. Please put the booklet somewhere safe until you need to use it from April 2012.
Due to the issue of these booklets, HMRC temporarily cannot issue PAYE Payment Booklets for the tax year 2011-12. This will affect employers who request a 2011-12 booklet between the following dates depending on which Accounts Office they are linked to:
Employers who have a payment to make by 19 December 2011 and/or 19 January 2012 who do not have a payslip (or payment booklet) should use the online facilities to make payment. Please make sure the cleared funds reach HMRC by no later than 22 December 2011 or 20 January 2012 (this is the last bank working day before the 22nd). HMRC recommends that payment is made online as this is the safest, quickest and most secure method. You can also tell HMRC online that no payment is due; again you do not need a payslip.