HMRC has warned self assessment taxpayers to be alert to the danger of scammers posing as the tax authority in the lead up to the tax return deadline.
Every year HMRC issues thousands of SMS messages and emails as part of its push to remind people to file before the 31 January deadline. HMRC says it is aware that fraudsters use calls, emails and texts to contact customers.
In the last 12 months, it has responded to more than 846,000 referrals of suspicious HMRC contact from the public and reported over 15,500 malicious webpages to internet service providers so that they can be taken down.
Many scams target customers to inform them of a fake tax rebate or tax refund. The imposters use language intended to convince the customer to hand over personal information, including bank details, in order to claim the refund.
Karl Khan, Interim Director General for Customer Services at HMRC, said: 'We know that criminals take advantage of the self assessment deadline to panic customers into sharing their personal or financial details and even paying bogus 'tax due'.
'If someone calls, emails or texts claiming to be from HMRC, offering financial help or asking for money, it might be a scam. Please take a moment to think before parting with any private information or money.'