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HMRC has issued an alert to tax credit customers to be on their guard against new tactics being used by unscrupulous fraudsters.

The warning contains details of a number of new scams reported that aim to trick people into handing over money or personal information.

Criminals use deadlines – like the tax credits renewal deadline on 31 July – to target their victims and the department is warning around 1.5 million tax credits customers to be on the look-out for scams that mimic government communications to make them appear genuine.

Typical scam examples include:

  • emails or texts claiming an individual’s details aren’t up to date and that they risk losing out on payments that are due to them.
  • emails or texts claiming that a direct debit payment hasn’t ‘gone through’.
  • phone calls threatening arrest if people don’t immediately pay fake tax owed.
  • claims that the victim’s National Insurance number has been used in fraud.
  • emails or texts offering spurious tax rebates or bogus grants or support.

Myrtle Lloyd, HMRC’s Director General for Customer Services, said: “Tax scams come in many forms and we’re urging customers to be alert to the tactics used by fraudsters and never to let yourselves be rushed.

“If someone contacts you saying they’re from HMRC and asks you to give personal information or urgently transfer money, be on your guard. Search ‘HMRC scams’ advice on GOV.UK to find out how to report scams and help us fight these crimes.”

Scam messages can be convincing, but HMRC will never ring anyone out of the blue making threats or asking them to transfer money.

According to the National Cyber Security Centre, HMRC was the third most spoofed government body in 2022, behind the NHS and TV Licensing.

HMRC is also urging tax credit customers to be alert to misleading websites or adverts asking them to pay for government services which are free, often by charging for a connection to HMRC helplines.

HMRC is currently sending out tax credits renewal packs to customers and is reminding anyone who has not received theirs to wait until after 15 June before contacting HMRC.

Customers can renew their tax credits for free via GOV.UK or the HMRC app. Help and support is available on GOV.UK to help renew tax credits claim.

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