There has recently been a bout of letters that look to be genuine that come from the HMRC about direct debit payments for self assessment.
The letters claim that you are in self assessment arrears and that they will be collecting a sum of money from you. The letter then gives you an option to add this amount to your current regular direct debit amount so that you do not have to pay the lump sum in one go. In order to do this they suggest that you call them on the telephone number listed on the letter which is 0300 123 1813.
The number on the letter is not an HMRC number and therefore by calling this you will be put through to the scam artists who will then have the opportunity to gain information and money from you.
If you receive a letter similar to this we would recommend that you contact the HMRC via phone, but ensure that you use the number on their website NOT the number on the letter.
How to spot a fake HMRC letter?
Resist any urge to act now!
Letters are increasing in popularity when it comes to scams as they are a genuine means of contact used by the Revenue and Customs office. Emails and text alike do not ask for payments whereas standard HMRC letters do, so it makes it easier for the scammers to gleam the information they need.
Do bear in mind that the HMRC will never ask for immediate payment, so if you see this on a letter it is a sign that it is a scam.
Look for incorrect contact details
Some letters do look very genuine especially as they may come in the standard brown envelopes that HRMC use, as well as using the HMRC logo and trademarks. Addresses however are a different matter. The HMRC contact details can be found on the GOV.UK site and therefore you should always check that the address on the letter matches to that on the GOV.UK website.
On the GOV.UK website they have also published a list of fake email accounts that they are aware of so you can cross reference this.
Be wary of payment methods
Any requirement to “send us your bank details” is a warning! HMRC keep sort code and bank details on its database and therefore will never request this information.
Always check to see what HMRC’s bank details are, just to confirm whether you’re being contacted by the right people. The HMRC have a couple of verified bank accounts – anything else is likely to be a hoax if direct payment is mentioned. Don’t just pay immediately for the sake of it.
What to do if you receive a HMRC scam email or letter?
To help the HMRC investigations, report all HMRC related phishing emails and bogus text messages to them. Even if you get the same or similar phishing email or text message often, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org and then delete it.
If you would like anymore information please do not hesitate to contact us.