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March 22, 2022

Avoid the tax year end scams

As tax year end approaches, the scammers get more brazen. Here are some useful tips to avoid a common HMRC tax scam.

Don’t make it a tax year end to forget…

When it comes to tax year end, we can get a little excited and we can imagine that you might too – it is, after all, a very stimulating time of year…

On a serious note, we’re following suit of many responsible companies and making you aware of a common scam circulating the UK. 

While we are extolling the virtues of making the most of your ISA allowance before 5 April, there are also some more nasty characters out there using the rush, excitement, and the deadline of tax-year end to trick you into handing over your money to criminals.

We want to give you some tips to avoid the scams and spot the fraudsters from afar so your money can actually be used for investing in people and planet!

What’s catching people out?

Fraudsters are targeting people by phone and text claiming to be HMRC. They are demanding payment for fines relating to an HMRC submission or unpaid tax bill before the tax year end. They are even threatening arrest for those who do not comply in paying the fine. Or, they are offering you a tax rebate for which you need to provide your bank details. These are examples of phishing. 

The scammers are quite advanced and convincing. They will pretend to be HMRC and mimic the HMRC phone number on your phone display through something called “number spoofing”. They will go the extra mile to prove legitimacy. But beware, it is all a ruse! 

HMRC will never call you to demand payment of a fine and would never ask you for personal financial information like your bank details and if they do contact you, they will always cite your taxpayer reference number.

The UK GOV website, here, has some helpful content for spotting common scams

What to look out for in general?

To make your tax year end on a high look out for the following list of red flags. It is most likely a scam if the person or automated user: 

-        rushes you

-        is threatening

-        is unexpected

-        tells you which buttons to push on your screen

-        asks for personal information like bank or debit card details

-        tells you to transfer money

-        instructs you to ignore any warnings from your banking app or website

-        offers a refund, tax rebate or grant

It is always best to be cautious and if you feel like you are experiencing any of the above, hang up and report the call using the information in the link here. Be aware this can happen across phone calls, texts & Whatsapp, and email so remain vigilant.

If you do transfer money, it can be very hard to get it back if you are scammed. Stay safe and make sure it isn’t a tax year end to forget!