HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has warned taxpayers of a new scam aimed at getting them to disclose details about their personal tax accounts, something that could lead to self-employed people being among those hit by fraudulent activity.
The warning concerns a scam being run via social media channels that involves individuals being asked to allow others to ‘borrow’ their tax identities, with the reward for this being a ‘risk free’ cut of the tax refund the scammers are able to get.
However, giving away information like this is fraudulent and even if it is done inadvertently, it can lead to the individual who gives away their details being forced to fully repay the money lost through a fraudulent claim – all this while the scammer vanishes with their ill-gotten gains.
Those who are unsure who should know what when it comes to tax can ensure all this is taken care of safely and securely by having a tax accountant deal with HMRC on their behalf and never giving anyone else their details.
Head of Cybercrime at HMRC Simon Cubitt said: “People need to think extremely carefully before they involve themselves in an arrangement like this, because if something looks too good to be true, then it almost certainly is.”
He added that people who give such information away can often be targeted further by criminals, with threats of blackmail and even violence forcing them into facilitating further fraudulent activity.
Warnings about scams are regularly issued by HMRC, as such fraudulent activity is very common and can be extremely lucrative for those who succeed in acquiring the details of others.
However, the HMRC has managed to reduce the number of these quite substantially. It revealed that in December 2021, there were just under 2,500 reports of scam phone calls, down 97 per cent on the tally of more than 79,000 in March last year.
Over the course of 2021 the number of scam texts was also down by 97 per cent and phishing emails fell by 92 per cent.