We’ve recently been contacted by a number of Champion Accountants clients, informing us that they have received telephone calls from people posing as HMRC employees.

During the calls, these people are making claims that the individual owes HMRC overdue tax, or even that they have identified irregularities or tax fraud on the person’s record. This is often coupled with a threat that the Police are on standby and will be dispatched unless immediate payment is made. Naturally this can be a frightening experience for those on the receiving end.

We can hopefully reassure our clients with the knowledge that HMRC will never telephone you about such an issue. If you do genuinely owe them money, they will always have written to you in the first instance, so you should be aware of the issue.

This acts as a good reminder to be extra vigilant should you ever be contacted regarding a HMRC or tax issue. If you receive a similar phone call and cannot verify the identification of the caller, do not disclose any of your personal details, suspend the call and instead contact HMRC yourself to validate the query. You can find the relevant department here: https://www.gov.uk/contact-hmrc.

Please also note that the fraudsters are able to easily make it appear that the phone number they are calling from is a genuine HMRC number, and will usually start with say 0300 200 XXXX. Again, this is just another layer to the trick, where they hope you will google the number and it will show it to be an HMRC helpline.

You can also speak with us at Champion to check whether the nature of the call is something HMRC would legitimately contact you about by telephone.

If you receive a fraudulent call, note down as many details as possible, including the date and time of the call, the number you were called from and a brief description of the call. Then send these details to phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk.

These types of fraudsters are becoming increasingly intelligent and convincing with the ways in which they communicate, so if you do fall foul to a scam and you suffer financially, be sure to inform Action Fraud immediately. You can call 0300 123 2040 or visit https://reporting.actionfraud.police.uk/reporting. Additional security advice can be found on the gov.uk website, here.

Stay calm, act cautious and be careful. These fraudsters don’t care who they steal from, so don’t make it easy for them.