We have been made aware of a phone scam where people are being contacted or left messages by bogus HMRC officials. One person was left a message from a Heather Gray of HMRC saying that they needed to call 0203 129 1431 urgently otherwise solicitor’s action would be taken. Luckily the client was astute enough to realise that this did not sound correct and contacted CAB who then gave her our number.
On calling the number you are greeted with the answer ‘HMRC’ and when our advisor called and tried to ask questions as to what part of HMRC she was talking to, he replied “investigation” and said he was based in London. When asked why HMRC would be leaving messages on answer phones he replied “because there had been no response to certified mail” and then shouted “we then can ring and leave a message” and put the phone down.
HMRC, and the Action Fraud / Police Helpline are aware of the scam and have advised that a few hundred reports had been received. Apparently the fraudsters tell their victims that thousands of pounds are owed, going back to 2006, and unless they pay immediately the police will arrive on their doorsteps within half an hour; they will be arrested and go to jail; also, if not paid the bill will double.
The squad adviser said that an investigation will be carried out but, in the meantime, we think it is important that as many people as possible know about this and would be grateful if you could warn our clients when next you see them.