Scammers are pretending to be from HMRC and using threatening tactics to try and convince victims to part with large amounts of money or face the risk of being arrested. This is a particularly nasty scam. Victims are threatened with lawsuits, warrants for their arrest or demands for thousands of pounds of outstanding tax to be paid. In another version of the scam, automated voicemails are left saying that recipients or their solicitors must get in contact or face the legal consequences.
Those targeted are often elderly and some have felt sufficiently pressurised to make payments. HMRC say that they have received more than 60,000 reports of phone scams in the six months to January 2019, an increase of 360% compared to the previous six months. Fraudsters are also impersonating HMRC online and using SMS.
Don’t assume that anyone who calls or contacts you out of the blue is who they say they are. HMRC will only call you in connection with a debt that they have already made you aware of in writing.