High-level fraud, where criminals impersonate HMRC in order to steal from bank accounts, or get access to sensitive personal financial information, has become increasingly common.
Some scams involve bogus callers using apparently genuine HMRC helpline numbers with the 0300 prefix. This is called number spoofing. HMRC is making headway here, and it's hoped main HMRC inbound phone numbers are now protected.
To stay safe, remember the golden rules:
- never disclose personal information, such as PINs, passwords, National Insurance number or bank details. HMRC will never phone unexpectedly to ask for such details
- if in doubt, ask the caller's name and why they are calling: then call HMRC yourself, to check it's all above board
- don't reply to texts, download attachments or click on links unless you're sure they're genuine. HMRC does sometimes use SMS texts, but be on your guard. HMRC will not text about a tax refund, or ask for personal or financial details.