HMRC is warning tax credits claimants to be aware of fraudsters who imitate the department and try to steal individuals' personal information or money.
Almost 2.1 million tax credits customers are expected to renew their annual claims by 31 July 2022 and could be more susceptible to the tactics used by criminals who mimic government messages to make them appear authentic.
In the 12 months to April 2022, HMRC responded to nearly 277,000 referrals of suspicious contact received from the public. Scammers use phone calls, text messages and emails to attempt to dupe individuals – often trying to rush them into making decisions.
HMRC says it will not ring anyone out of the blue threatening arrest.
Myrtle Lloyd, HMRC's Director General for Customer Services, said: 'We're urging all of our customers to be really careful if they are contacted out of the blue by someone asking for money or bank details.
'There are a lot of scams out there where fraudsters are calling, texting or emailing customers claiming to be from HMRC. If you have any doubts, we suggest you don't reply directly, and contact us straight away. Search GOV.UK for our 'scams checklist' and to find out how to report tax scams.'