“Fraudsters” Impersonate HMRC in Telephone Scam, Police Warn
Posted 7th November 2018 in News For Workers
Police and fraud experts have warned of a telephone scam targeting members of the public, including temporary workers and third-party contractors.
Growing complaints posted on social media by victim have described being contacted by a phone number which appears to belong to the official income tax helpline for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), with threats of warrants being issued for arrest due to unpaid taxes.
However, police and HMRC spokespeople have confirmed that the calls do not come from HMRC.
“We will never call you out of the blue asking for money,” said a HMRC spokesperson to Sky News. “If you’re in doubt, you can put the phone down and call us back.”
Despite appearing to originate from an official HMRC telephone number, fraud experts have explained that the calls come from “fraudsters” using a number “cloning” tactic.
“This type of fraud, known as ‘number spoofing’, works by fraudsters cloning the telephone number of the organisation or person they want to impersonate, which in some cases can be the HMRC,” confirmed a spokesperson for Action Fraud. “The fraudsters will then gain the person’s trust by highlighting the number to them, claiming that this is proof of their identity, before trying to scam them in various ways.”
“If someone tries to draw your attention to the number on your caller ID display, you should immediately become suspicious,” said the spokesperson.
Police across the UK have also advised caution, with police services such as Crewe Police commenting on Twitter, “If you receive a call or recorded message from 0300 200 3300 claiming to be from HM Revenue with a warrant for your arrest due to unpaid taxes, put the phone down and DO NOT respond.”
Communications regulator Ofcom has confirmed it is working with the Information Commissioner’s Office to tackle fraudulent calls, along with the issue of “number spoofing”.