Malicious HMRC Calls and Online Vehicle Sales

Malicious HMRC Calls and Online Vehicle Sales

HM Revenue & Customs Alert

Action Fraud has experienced an increase in the reporting of malicious calls and voicemails, to members of the public purporting to be from Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

Fraudsters are spoofing genuine HMRC telephone numbers to deceive their victims over the phone. The fraudsters state that as a result of the victim’s non-payment of tax or other duty, the victim is liable for prosecution or other legal proceedings in order to settle the balance. The fraudsters suggest victims can avoid this, by arranging payment to be made

immediately by methods such as bank transfer or by purchasing iTunes gift cards.

If the victim is hesitant or refuses to comply, the suspect makes a threat such as immediate arrest, sending bailiffs to the victim’s address or, in some cases, deportation.

Often, the period for which the tax is allegedly due is distant enough to guarantee the victim will have little, if any, paperwork or ability to verify the claims. Once the money is paid the suspects sever all contact with the victim.

In genuine cases, HMRC will initially make direct contact with you via post/letter and potentially follow up that letter with a

phone call at a later date. 

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Online Vehicle Sales Alert

Fraudsters have been advertising vehicles and machinery for sale on various online selling platforms. This includes vehicles and machinery used by the agricultural industry.

The victims, after communicating via email with the fraudster, will receive a bogus email which appears to be sent by a trustworthy third party, often PayPal or Escrow. 

The emails are designed to persuade victims to pay upfront via bank transfer rather than through a protected payment method via the website. The victim pays the deposit before visiting the seller to collect the goods, believing there is a ‘cooling off’ period to reclaim the payment if they change their mind.

This gives victims the false sense of security that their money is being looked after by this trustworthy third party, when in fact, it is not and the money has gone straight to the fraudster.

It is vital that the public exercise caution when receiving emails or messages of this nature.

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