Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls

Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls claiming to be from HMRC – 9 January 2019

We have received more reports from Norfolk residents about telephone cold calls claiming to be from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

Most of these cold calls claim to be in connection to non-payment of tax or other duty stating that the call recipient is liable to prosecution or other legal proceedings, such as repossession of belongings, to settle the outstanding balance.  The cold caller will then say that to avoid action the debt can be settled immediately by bank transfer or by iTunes gift cards.

Often, the period for which the tax is allegedly due will be a significant number of years back making it harder for the call recipient to be sure or be able to verify any claims.

If the call recipient refuses to comply or is hesitant further threats of ‘immediate arrest’, ‘court appearances’, ‘bailiffs attending your home’ and ‘stopping pensions or benefits’ will be made by the cold caller.

Where payments are made the cold callers then sever all contact.

We always advise to be very wary of any approach made by a telephone cold call. If you receive this type of call our advice is do not interact with the call and hang up.

Action Fraud has issued the following advice regarding these cold calls:

It is vital that the public exercise caution when receiving messages or telephone calls of this nature:

  • Always question unsolicited requests for your personal or financial information.  Just because someone knows your basic details (such as your name and contact details), it doesn't mean they are genuine.  Instead, contact the company or organisation directly using trusted methods such as a known email address or phone number.
  • Listen to your instincts.  If something feels wrong, then it is usually right to question it.  No genuine organisation will ask you to pay taxes, bills or fees using iTunes Gift Cards, or any other type of voucher.
  • Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision.  Under no circumstances would a genuine bank or some other trusted organisation force you to make a financial transaction on the spot.

If you receive a call, text or email of this nature report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.  If you have received handed a call, text or email of this nature and have handed over money or voucher details report it to Norfolk Constabulary on 101.