Scammers pretending to be from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) are sending false information on tax rebates and how to claim money back to individuals via text messages.
The text messages usually include links to websites that harvest personal information or spread malware. This can in turn lead to identity fraud and the theft of people’s personal savings.
Unfortunately, because the texts display ‘HMRC’ as the sender, rather than just a phone number, many people are falling for the scam as they look more legitimate on a text than they do in an email.
However, as a spokesman for HMRC said, the organisation would never contact customers who a due a tax refund a text message or email about claiming their money back. He added that if anyone receives such a text, they should contact Action Fraud.
There is also another scam doing the rounds in which fraudsters call victims out of the blue and pretend to be from HMRC. They tell people that they owe large amounts of tax which they can only pay off through Apple’s iTunes vouchers.
The victims are told by the caller to go to a local shop, buy the vouchers and then read out the redemption code to the scammer. The criminals then sell on the codes or buy high-value products using them.
HMRC is taking this one very seriously and has written to the Chief Executives of major UK retailers urging them to share details of the iTunes phone scam with their staff so they can warn people.