South Yorkshire Police's fraud co-ordination team has issued a warning to local residents about an ongoing HMRC telephone scam.
A number of people in South Yorkshire have been called by scammers pretending to be from HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs), or another official-sounding body such as National Insurance, Inland Revenue, HM Land and Registry Services or a 'government solicitor'.
The scams all follow a similar theme, with the fraudster telling the victim they owe payment in relation to unpaid tax and there is a warrant out for their arrest, or they are entitled to a tax refund and must provide their bank details.
PC Gavin Johnson, from the force's fraud co-ordination team, said: "Thankfully, many people these days will treat calls like this with suspicion - but for elderly and vulnerable people in particular it can be a very distressing experience. That is why it's important everyone spreads the word about scams like this, and makes sure their loved ones know how to spot the signs and keep themselves safe.
"It's also worth being aware that these heartless fraudsters may take advantage of people's struggles during the Coronavirus pandemic - perhaps claiming the victim is entitled to a payment to help with the battle against Covid-19. They ask for their bank details to deposit some funds, but their aim is in fact to steal the victim's money."
If you think you have been a victim of this scam, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or go online to actionfraud.police.uk.
You can also tell HMRC about the suspected scam by emailing [email protected], including the date of the call, the phone number used and the content of the call.
- Be wary of telephone calls you receive from an official-sounding organisation out of the blue. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- If in doubt, hang up, wait for 30 minutes, and then contact the organisation - ideally from a different phone - on a trusted number to check the call is genuine.
- Remember genuine representatives from organisations such as the government and the police will never object to you making checks to verify they are who they say they are, and they will never ask for your bank details.