Beware the new scam where fraudsters call to say there is an arrest warrant in your name - from a genuine HMRC number

Published by Stephen Little on 06 November 2018.
Last updated on 09 November 2018


Fraudsters are phoning victims to say an arrest warrant has been made in their name because of unpaid taxes or outstanding debts. But even more sinister, the fraudsters are cloning phone numbers used by HM Revenue and Customs so that it appears as if the phone calls are coming from the trusted authority. 

The automated message asks people to press a button on their phones to speak to someone, warning that if they don’t they could face serious legal consequences.

The number is usually displayed on a person’s phone as 0300 2003300 – the official number of HMRC. On some phones, when the call comes through HMRC appears on their screen as if that is the genuine caller. 

However, while the number appears to be a genuine it is in fact from fraudsters looking to trick unsuspecting victims out of their money.

An HMRC spokesperson says: “HMRC takes security extremely seriously. We are aware that some people have received telephone calls from individuals claiming to be from HMRC. We have a well-known brand, which criminals abuse to add credibility to their scams.

“These scams often involve people receiving a call out of the blue and being told that HMRC is investigating them. If you can’t verify the identity of the caller, we recommend that you do not speak to them.”

Known as spoofing, there has been a surge in this type of scam in recent years.

As well as cold calling, fraudsters also leave voicemails and use text messages asking victims to call back on the number provided.

When victims call back, they are told that there is a case being built against them for an outstanding debt and they must pay immediately. 

Fraudsters will often ask for payment in iTunes gift card voucher codes as they can be easily redeemed and sold on. The scammers don’t need the physical card to redeem the value and instead get victims to read out the serial code on the back over the phone.

A spokesperson for Action Fraud says: “This type of contact is designed to convince you to hand over valuable personal details or your money.

“Don’t assume anyone who has contacted you is who they say they are. If an email, phone call or text message asks you to make a payment, log in to an online account or offers you a deal, be cautious and report it to Action Fraud.”

What you can do to guard against the fraudsters

1) Recognise the signs - Genuine organisations, such as banks and HMRC, will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your PIN, password or bank details

2) Stay safe - Do not give out private information, reply to text messages, download attachments or click on links in emails you weren’t expecting

3) Take action - forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to and texts to 60599, or contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 to report any suspicious calls or use its online fraud reporting tool

4) Check for information on how to avoid and report scams and recognise genuine HMRC contact

Leave a comment

Thanks for this information ,

Thanks for this information , which most helpful.
Not much difference between conmen and HMRC they both take you for a ride!

Would your suspicions not be

Would your suspicions not be raised being asked to pay HMRC with i-Tunes gift card voucher codes?

There is a similar scam going

There is a similar scam going around about Council Tax. I recieved a call from a lady saying that my house was in the wrong council tax band and I was due a large rebate. She said that normally in order to get a rebate, I would have to employ a surveyor and that this would be expensive. However the organisationshe worked for would help me get a rebate and that they had a surveyor who would help me put my case to the council at a much lower fee. When I asked for the details to be sent to me in writing, the phone went dead and I have not heard from the woman since.

Caller display is becoming a

Caller display is becoming a worthless joke. In one week we received two calls with what looked like genuine UK numbers but when we tried to call them back they didn't exist.

It is not the only HMRC scam.

It is not the only HMRC scam. The other which I have received on more than one occasion is saying that I am entitled a tax refund and please will I let them know my bank details so they can process it.

Another HMRC scam is an E

Another HMRC scam is an E-mail saying I am owed a refund and asking me to send my bank details so it can be processed. I have had 2 or 3 of these over the past couple of years.

Don't panic Mrs Mainwaring ..

Don't panic Mrs Mainwaring ..........these calls have been around for weeks ............ probably months. They are very obviously recorded which is a sure sign of a scam. They have threatened they will cut off my Internet connection unless I comply. As soon as I detect a recording now, the phone goes back on the hook. If you never answer your phone until the seventh ring they take you off the 'suckers list'. Time is money for them and they won't waste time.