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

HMRC

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 phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk 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 Gov.uk 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.

"HMRC is prepareing a lawsuit

"HMRC is prepareing a lawsuit against you" Well, no-one in the UK would ever use those words and secondly the call came on a Saturday "press 1 to speak to your case officer" HMRC working on a Saturday? Don't make me laugh!

I have received 2 calls over

I have received 2 calls over past 2 days, one being 9pm this evening . Have tried to block number but unable to do. Has there been any investigations in regards to catching these criminals . Surely the phone companies and police with the technology we have now must be able to do something to be able to clone original HMRC numbers

HMR scammers rang me today

HMR scammers rang me today and scared the crap out me. I thought that they were the real deal until I rang my husband on my daughters phone while they were still on my phone and he told me that it was a con. Luckily I didn’t pass any details about myself except my name. One day they might ring a very old pensioner with a heart condition and the shock of this fraudulent call might kill that pensioner. This incident had me shaking from stress, because they said that there was a warrant for arrest for tax fraud, even though I didn’t commit tax fraud. They told me that the police would action on that warrant in 30 minutes time and I could face upto 5 years imprisonment and £49000 fine if I lost my court case. They told me to get a criminal lawyer as well. I’m used to code calling and scammers, but these guys were pros compared to the other scammers I dealt with, but these guys had me worried. Hope they nail these “people “ to the wall and/or throw the book at them.

On the scam on the HMRC the

On the scam on the HMRC the phone number I had mine on is different

I have received a 'phone call

I have received a 'phone call on my landline saying that an arrest warrant has been issued in my name. I did not press any numbers as requested and hung up. It is still very worrying to me though. The only number I could find on my 'phone is 157123. Some reassurance would be appreciated.

Yours sincerely
Joan Musty

I just received a call from

I just received a call from this number very worrying and sounding official as they give you their name Nate Shaw and case number and ref . They told me that the police would action on that warrant in 30 minutes time and I could face upto 5 years imprisonment and £49000 fine if I lost my court case. They told me to get a criminal lawyer .

I just had one calls warrant

I just had one calls warrant in my name should I be worried I've blocked the number as it was a recorded voice

I just had a call from HMRC

I just had a call from HMRC warranting arrest in my name should I be worried

i have had these calls 3

i have had these calls 3 times recently, and im not even working and havent earnt enough money to pay any tax in the last 7 years.