In a bid to con money out of people, scammers are increasingly calling landline numbers and claiming to be from HM Revenue Customs, the tax authority has warned.

Over 60,000 reports of phone scams were reported to the HMRC from June 2018 to January 2019 – a rise of 360% compared to the previous six months.

The HMRC has said that the elderly and vulnerable were being exploited and criminals were threatening legal action or prison to dupe victims.

The increase in fraudsters using landlines comes after a huge crackdown on email and SMS phishing over the past few years.

Head of Action Fraud, Pauline Smith said: “Fraudsters will call your landline claiming to be from reputable organisations such as HMRC – contact like this is designed to convince you to hand over valuable personal details or your money.

“Don’t assume anyone who calls you is who they say they are. If a person calls and asks you to make a payment, log in to an online account or offers you a deal, be cautious and seek advice.”

HMRC stated it will only call taxpayers asking for a payment that they are already aware of.

Sharon Heselton, senior associate in the wills, trusts and probate team, said:

“The rapid rise in the number of phone scams is shocking. We would urge all of our clients to be particularly vigilant and report any suspicious calls to HMRC.”

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Sharon Heselton
Principal Lawyer (Non Solicitor)

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