Warning issued as phone scammers target Thanet residents

Phone scam

A warning has been issued for residents to be on their guard against scam callers.

Birchington mum-of-two Victoria Grounds contacted Kent Police today (November 16) after being targeted by phone fraudsters trying to get her to p[art with almost £3,000.

Victoria said: “I was called from a London number and they left a voicemail advising there was a law case against me and to call them back before proceedings were taken further.

“When I called back they claimed I had not responded to correspondence and that there was a warrant out for my arrest due to owing HMRC £2900 between the years of 2013-2017

“When I told them I hadn’t worked between those years and that I owe nothing they hung up on me. I reported it because there are so many vulnerable people out there that could fall victim to parting with their money.”

A 69-year-old man in Ramsgate was also targeted with the same scam call. He said: “It was very convincing, I almost fell for it.”

A Kent Police spokesman said the ‘HMRC’ scam was a well-known one.

They added: “On this occasion the caller, who did not fall for the scam,was referred to Action Fraud.”

‘It’s a scam’

An HMRC spokesperson said: “Phone scams are widely reported, and generally attempt to target elderly and vulnerable people. We are a well-known brand, which criminals abuse to add credibility to their scams.

“If someone calls you claiming to be from HMRC saying that you will be arrested, that we are filing a lawsuit against you, or even that you are owed a tax refund, and asks for information such as your name, credit card or bank details then it’s a scam.

“If you can’t verify the identity of the caller, we recommend that you do not speak to them.”

Protect yourself against scammers

  • Recognise the signs – genuine organisations like banks and HMRC will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your PIN, password or bank details.
  • Stay safe – don’t give out private information, reply to text messages, download attachments or click on links in emails you weren’t expecting.
  • Take action – forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to [email protected] and texts to 60599, or contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 to report any suspicious calls or use their online fraud reporting tool.
  • HMRC Debt management teams do contact members of the public by phone about paying outstanding debts.
  • If a customer (or agent) isn’t confident that the call is from HMRC, we will ask them to call back. Depending on the circumstances and to give the customer confidence it is actually HMRC calling, information may be disclosed to the caller which only HMRC is party to
  • Calls to and from the majority of HMRC offices will start with the prefix, 0300 or 0345
  • Calls from the majority of HMRC offices will leave caller identification data, i.e. the number the caller has used to contact you from
  • For up to date advice on scam HMRC phone calls, visit GOV.UK – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/phishing-and-bogus-emails-hm-revenue-and-customs-examples/phishing-emails-and-bogus-contact-hm-revenue-and-customs-examples#bogus-callers
  • HMRC will call people about outstanding tax bills, and sometimes use automated messages, however this would include your taxpayer reference number. If you are uncertain of the caller hang up and call HMRC directly to check – you can confirm our call centre numbers on GOV.UK if you are unsure. For tax credits we do not include your details in any voicemail messages.

Find more advice at Action Fraud here 


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