The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) has uncovered another telephone scam from individuals pretending to represent HMRC.
The caller claims the recipient has underpaid their council tax, due to a supposed change in their tax band under COVID-19 measures. One caller threatened a target with a visit from the police and arrest if they did not consent to have their payment details taken.
Even family members of CTSI Lead Officer for Doorstep Scams, Katherine Hart, received the call: “A relative and many of my friends have received this call, indicating that it may be among the more prevalent telephone scams at present,” she said.
“This year has been profoundly challenging for everyone, and unscrupulous scammers have used the coronavirus pandemic to scare already vulnerable people into parting with their money. I am particularly concerned by the threatening language used by the callers and their aggressive posturing.
“HMRC will never demand your payment details over the phone, and they certainly won’t threaten you with arrest if you do not comply. Put the phone down on these demands, and if you receive a voice message asking you to call a number back, do not do it.
“This is but one of a series of scams through the telephone, email, and text pretending to be from HMRC. If you think it might be a scam, please check the HMRC’s website for a list of scams and report it to the authorities.”
The public and businesses are encouraged to join Friends Against Scams and Businesses Against Scams, respectively. These initiatives aim to protect and prevent people and businesses from becoming scam victims by empowering them to take a stand against scams.