New HMRC fraud tactic ‘manipulating’ Britons into handing over cash

Loose Women: Expert details latest HMRC scams

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Fraudsters posing as HMRC are taking two approaches to “manipulate” people in a recent scam to steal money from victims following the self-assessment tax return deadline month. Financial Times journalist and host of the podcast, Money Clinic, Claer Barrett warned viewers of ITV’s Lorraine show what to watch out for.

In light of the self-assessment tax return deadline on January 31, millions have been scrambling to submit taxes owed to HMRC.

Criminals have been cashing in on these tax returns, and “a lot of people have been falling for it”, according to Lorraine.

Ms Barrett said: “This is what scammers do. They pick something that’s on our minds in the news already.”

Ms Barrett then went on to explain the “nasty” and “nicer” approaches the scammers have been taking to trick people into either handing over their bank details or taking payment.

She said: “People are getting really realistic sounding phone calls, text messages, emails, featuring the HMRC logo saying, either nasty ones like ‘you owe tax, you haven’t paid, give us the money, we’re going to fine you’, which will scare them into making a payment to criminals posing as the tax authority.

“Or in some cases, nicer ones, saying ‘you’re owed a tax rebate, give us your details and we’ll pay it back in’ – so two different approaches they’re using to manipulate us.”

However, Ms Barrett noted: “The key to avoiding these is HMRC never phone anyone – they like to send letters.

“They will never ask you to pay, put you under pressure, or threaten you with arrest – which is happening on some of these calls.”

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For viewers who still haven’t paid their tax bills yet, Ms Barrett provided some “good news”.

She added: “The good news is you can actually split the payments. 12 monthly payments, you just need to go on the HMRC website on the portal.

“You don’t have to speak to anyone or think of an excuse, you can just say ‘I want time to pay’, that’s what it’s called.

“Don’t listen to the fraudsters and if you are in trouble, go online.”

This is one of the many timely scams in circulation currently. Many fraudsters have been attempting to cash in on the cost of living crisis with fake emails and texts offering discounts on energy bills; texts requesting bank details to receive the cost of living payments; as well as fraudulent parcel delivery texts, also asking for personal details.

New research from reveals fraudsters have stolen more than £4billion from Britons since January 2022, with monetary losses increasing 67 percent.

There were 90,490 crimes reported between January 2022 to March 2022 with losses totalling £610.3million. In the second quarter of the year, the number of reported crimes was slightly lower (88,199), but reported losses reached an eye-watering £1.1billion – an increase of £490million quarter to quarter.

The third quarter of 2022 saw a total of £1.6billion in losses averaging at over £18,000 a case, while the final quarter saw losses worth more than £917million.

James Andrews, senior personal finance expert at, commented: “Cyber crimes cost Britons more than £4billion last year, with losses rising yet again. This is a reminder for us to protect our data online and be more vigilant when making purchases online.

“Using a credit card to pay for purchases gives you extra protection when shopping online. If you pay for even part of an item costing between £100 and £30,000 using your credit card, then you get extra protection from your card provider under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. This allows you to claim a refund from your credit card provider if the selling merchant can’t be contacted or denies any wrongdoing.”

He also said that making should make sure they have up-to-date antivirus software on computers, phones and tablets to help better protect themselves before adding: “As a rule of thumb, banks and other official bodies will never request details such as credit card numbers or other personal information over the phone or email.

“If you do find yourself in a position where you have unexpectedly lost money, it is important that your bank is made aware of this as soon as possible.”

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