As a result of HMRC’s efforts to crack down on email and SMS phishing scams, it seems criminals are returning to the more traditional method of cold-calling unsuspecting households and threatening legal action if they don’t pay up.
These scammers often target more vulnerable groups, like the elderly, stating to be from HMRC as to add more credibility to the calls. In the six months up to January 2019, HMRC received over 60,000 reports of phone scams. This was a significant increase of 360% when compared to the six months prior.
It is not easy to stop these cold-callers as many of the numbers that they are targeting are publicly available. Despite this difficulty, HMRC has been working with regulator Ofcom to close almost 450 phone lines that have been used for these calls. Ofcom have claimed that around 26 million homes have a landline many of which could fall victim to the scammers.
Quote from Nigel Holland:
“It is important to remember that when you receive calls you make sure that the person calling is who they say they are. If you receive a call from someone you deem suspicious, make sure to not give out any personal details and report it to HMRC, they can then make attempts to take down the number that they are calling from.”