A client brought a letter into the CAB that was supposed to be from HMRC, the Tax Office. It stated he had a tax rebate and his bank details were required to pay it to him. He wanted to know whether it was genuine. It certainly looked very convincing and only very detailed scrutiny revealed some errors of grammar and that the contact details were similar but not quite the same as the genuine HMRC.
If you get a letter that you are uncertain about then phone HMRC. Do not use the phone number on the letter. Look up HMRC in the phone book or on-line. They will welcome your call as they have a whole department dedicated to scams.
Another scam at the moment is to leave a recorded message stating that legal action is going to be taken for unpaid tax. A phone number is given so you can call and speak to the officer dealing with the case. Do NOT call this number. Once again, look up the real number of HMRC. HMRC never send e-mails about Tax refunds or ask you to use a link. They may text you but will never ask you for any information. This is HMRC advice if you get an e-mail
To help our investigations, report all HMRC related phishing emails and bogus text messages to us. Even if you get the same or similar phishing email or text message often, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org and then delete it.
The Citizen’s Advice Bureau is completely confidential. The articles I write for the Crier are always based on true stories but I disguise the client so they could never be identified.
The Citizen’s Advice Bureau is at 7 Atholl Crescent. Drop in is 10am-12 noon, Monday to Friday or phone 01738 450581 for an appointment in the afternoon. If the line is busy you can leave a message and you will get a call-back. The number will come up as Withheld to protect your privacy. 01738 450580 is the Advice Line. This line is often busy but if you leave a message your call will be returned.
Everything is confidential, even the fact that you visited the bureau.
There is also a web-site run by the CAB. Citizensadvice.org.uk covers many topics and is easy to use.