Police are warning residents to be wary of cold callers following incidents in the county. Officers have received around 100 calls this week from residents concerned about cold calls from scammers claiming to be from HMRC.
In most cases, scammers have claimed to be from HMRC stating that the person is involved owes payment for a fine. Often this includes leaving a message on answer phones asking the public to call to make payments/ threatening arrest for non-payment and requesting i-tunes vouchers or bitcoins used to pay the debt - these then ask the recipients to call them to make payment or read the codes off the back of vouchers.
Resident should put the phone down on these callers and no money/ vouchers should ever be handed over as these are scam calls.
An HMRC spokesperson said: "HMRC takes security extremely seriously. We are aware that some people have received telephone calls from individuals claiming to be from HMRC. We have a well-known brand, which criminals abuse to add credibility to their scams. These scams often involve people receiving a call out of the blue and being told that HMRC is investigating them. If you can’t verify the identity of the caller, we recommend that you do not speak to them."
Anyone concerned about incidents should follow this advice:
1. Recognise the signs - genuine organisations like banks and HMRC will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your PIN, password or bank details.
2. Stay safe - don’t give out private information, reply to text messages, download attachments or click on links in emails you weren’t expecting.
3. Take action - forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to firstname.lastname@example.org and texts to 60599, or contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 to report any suspicious calls or use their online fraud reporting tool.
4. CheckGOV.UK for information on how to avoid and report scams and recognise genuine HMRC contact.
5. If you think you have received an HMRC related phishing/bogus email or text message, you can check it against the examples shown in this guide.
· HMRC will call people about outstanding tax bills, and sometimes use automated messages, however this would include a taxpayer reference number. If uncertain of the caller we would advise customers to hang up and call HMRC directly to check – customers can confirm our call centre numbers on GOV.UK. For tax credits we do not include customer details in any voicemail messages.
· HMRC Debt management teams do contact members of the public by phone about paying outstanding debts.
· If a customer (or agent) isn’t confident that the call is from HMRC, we will ask them to call back. Depending on the circumstances and to give the customer confidence it is actually HMRC calling, information may be disclosed to the caller which only HMRC is party to.
· Calls from the majority of HMRC offices will leave caller identification data, i.e. the number the caller has used to contact you from
· For up to date advice on scam HMRC phone calls, visit GOV.UK - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/phishing-and-bogus-emails-hm-revenue-and-customs-examples/phishing-emails-and-bogus-contact-hm-revenue-and-customs-examples#bogus-callers
Help us keep our communities safe.
Police advice on a variety of subjects can be accessed via https://www.suffolk.police.uk/advice
To report something, or to otherwise contact Police, use the link http://www.suffolk.police.uk/contact-us
To report something anonymously call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visit www.crimestoppers-uk.org
Alternatively call 101 for non-urgent matters.