HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is urging people to take extra care online. Fraudsters may try to hijack your personal tax account.
Apparently, criminals are capitalising on the sharing of personal information. They try to obtain your Government Gateway login. As well as other details. Then, they use your identity to commit personal account tax fraud.
Typically, fraudsters will register for Income Tax Self Assessment. They subsequently submit bogus claims for tax refunds. And pocket the repayment. It seems nobody is immune. Criminals target anyone from teenagers to pensioners. They ‘borrow’ someone’s identity to commit the fraud. In return, they promise a cut of the refund ‘risk-free’.
Personal tax account fraud
So. beware divulging sensitive personal data online. Even inadvertently. You risk becoming directly involved in tax fraud. Ultimately, you could have to repay the fraudulent claim in full.
HMRC is also concerned about the wider risks. Criminals may demand more information. They may insist that you hand over bank account, passport or driving licence details. They may want your address, date of birth and National Insurance number. Once armed with this information, they can exploit people further. You could become the victim of blackmail. You may even face threats of violence.
Have you been targeted? Or do you know someone who has? Report it. Search ‘Report Fraud HMRC’ on the GOV.UK website. Then complete the online form. HMRC takes this scam seriously. It’s working with other law enforcement agencies and social media companies to tackle the problem.
You can help yourself to avoid personal account tax fraud. The message is simple. For Self Assessment tax refunds, deal with HMRC directly. Or liaise through your tax advisor.