Warning as HMRC phone scam targets residents across the Vale
People living in the Vale of Glamorgan, Bridgend, and Cardiff are being warned to put the phone down on scammers who are claiming to be from Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs.
Members of Shared Regulatory Services’ Safeguarding Team have received a number of complaints within the past few days, which has coincided with the annual deadline for submitting self-assessment tax returns.
A complainant from the Bridgend area reported having a phone call from someone proclaiming to be from HMRC, threatening legal action. Luckily, this consumer became suspicious and called HMRC directly who confirmed it was a scam
The scam works like this:
- You get a phone call with a message saying you owe HMRC money
- and to press ‘1’ to speak to a case worker.
- When you do you speak to a person, they ask for your national insurance number and your postcode and threaten court action if you do not pay. They are likely to ask for a card payment.
- They may even threaten you with arrest.
Two other complaints from Cardiff residents were investigated, where it seems they were told to settle their tax bill by buying iTunes vouchers and giving the redemption codes to the scammers.
The two complainants paid £6750 between them for iTunes vouchers.
Cllr Dhanisha Patel, chair of the joint committee for Shared Regulatory Services, said: “Receiving a call of this nature can be very intimidating, especially when you’re being told you’ve done something wrong. We urge residents to never part with money during an unsolicited phone call. Put the phone down, take a moment to think, and then call the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506’
“Our Safeguarding Team works hard to engage with residents and key partners to tackle the issue of phone fraud – they will be notified of any complaint made by residents and will want to help those who have been made to feel uncomfortable by these aggressive calls. If you’re in any doubt, put the phone down on these scammers straight away.”
The advice to residents from our Safeguarding Team is:
- Do not give out any personal details over the telephone
- If you believe you could owe tax, telephone HMRC directly yourself using a telephone number which you find yourself – not a number given to you by a scam caller.
- HMRC would never ask you to pay for your tax in iTunes vouchers
- Speak to a friend or relative about the matter or contact Citizens advice.
- Contact your telephone provider to see if they can provide some assistance in reducing scam and nuisance calls to your telephone
Shared Regulatory Services has a small number of call blocking devices available for residents who are receiving persistent, unwanted and fraudulent phone calls.
These devices can protect vulnerable and elderly residents, especially those living alone, by placing blocks on calls from unsolicited numbers. An assessment of needs for this free service is made on a case by case basis.
A number of telephone service providers are also offering call blocking services for free.
All initial phone scam complaints should be made to Citizens Advice Consumer Service by calling 03454 040506, which will then lead to an assessment by Trading Standards.