South Wales Police has shared an important message from Action Fraud, confirming that they are experiencing an increase in the reports of malicious calls, voicemails, text messages or emails to members of the public from people pretending to be from HMRC.
The fraudsters state that as a result of their non-payment of tax or other duty, the victim is liable to prosecution or other legal proceedings such as repossession of belongings to settle the balance but can avoid this by arranging for payment to be made immediately by method such as bank transfer or by iTunes gift cards. If the victim is hesitant or refuses to comply, the fraudsters makes a threat such as immediate arrest, bailiffs or in cases where the victim appears to be of overseas origin, they threatened them with deportation.
It seems that the period for which the tax is allegedly due is so many years ago that the fraudsters are pretty much guaranteed that the victim will have little, if any, paperwork or ability to verify the claims. Once the money is paid the suspects never contact them again.
South Wales Police Advice on What you should do
The police are warning the public to exercise caution when receiving messages or telephone calls of this nature and you should: -
- Always question unsolicited requests for your personal or financial information, don’t think because someone knows your basic details, such as your name and contact details that it means they are genuine. You should hang up and contact the company 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. Remember No genuine organisation will ask you to pay taxes, bills or fees using iTunes Gift Cards, or any other type of gift voucher.
- Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision. No genuine bank or Trusted organisation would ever force you to make a financial transaction on the spot.
- Report Phishing attempts. If you receive a call, text or email of this nature and have not lost money, report this as a phishing attempt to Action Fraud.
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