HMRC is warning customers to keep their eyes peeled as scammers are targeting Self Assessment customers to try and steal money or personal information.
Within the last year, HMRC reported more than 570,000 scams. During this time of year, Self Assessment customers are vulnerable to being scammed, even if they do not mention ‘Self Assessment’. In January 2022, there were nearly 220,000 scams reported to the HMRC, that’s already 39% of what was reported last year.
Criminals are targeting unsuspecting Self Assessment customers in hopes they can steal money and personal information. Criminals are using phone calls, emails, and texts to scam people. Phone call scams have risen to 3,995 compared to the 425 reported in April 2020.
Scamming emails, texts, and phone calls will offer ‘refunds’ in exchange for your details. Scammers might also convince you that you are in debt with council tax to receive money. You can report suspicious calls using this form. You can also forward any suspicious emails that claim to be HMRC to email@example.com
HMRC gave businesses an extra month to submit complete tax returns, and if submitted by the 28th of February 2022, they could avoid a late filing penalty. 11.3 million people submitted their self-assessment tax returns, with over one million taking advantage of the extra time – which made scammers take advantage of the new deadline.
Filers have until the 1st of April to pay any outstanding tax bills. If not, they will have to set up a time to pay arrangement to avoid receiving a late payment penalty. Any outstanding balances have had interest applied to them since the 1st of February.
Customers can now securely make Self Assessment payments through the HMRC app. Additionally, HMRC encourages customers to double-check the websites and forms before completing them. The internet can be misleading, with websites designed to scam people. Customers who are in doubt should visit the GOV.UK website for more information on Self Assessment and forms.
Myrtle Lloyd, HMRC’s Director General for Customer Services, has gone on to say:
“If someone contacts you saying they’re from HMRC, wanting you to transfer money or give personal information, be on your guard. Never let yourself be rushed, and if you’re in any doubt then check our ‘HMRC scams’ advice on GOV.UK.”
Keep your information safe by taking extra care on the internet. For more internet security information, head to the gov.uk website.