Fraudsters targeting contractors in new tax refund scam
HMRC has warned contractors and other individuals not to share information about their online tax account after reports that scammers have been using people’s private information to submit bogus refund claims.
Criminals are using Government Gateway log in credentials to register for Income Tax Self-Assessment, before submitting a fake tax refund request and pocketing the repayment.
The tax authority revealed that a range of people, including teenagers and pensioners, were being targeted by social media ads. The posts asked to ‘borrow’ people’s identity, in return for a cut of a ‘risk-free’ tax refund.
HMRC warned that if you hand over sensitive information like this, you can be charged with tax fraud and would need to repay the full amount stolen by fraudsters.
Simon Cubitt, Head of Cybercrime at HMRC, said: “People need to think extremely carefully before they involve themselves in an arrangement like this, because if something looks too good to be true, then it almost certainly is.
“Those who get involved risk becoming the victim of blackmail, threats of violence and wider abuse of their personal information, as criminals seek to exploit them further.
“I urge anyone who may be aware of these dishonest attempts to recruit individuals into criminality, to report it to us by searching ‘Report Fraud HMRC’ on GOV.UK and completing our online form.”
As well as Government Gateway log-in information, taxpayers may also be asked to provide details of their bank account, passport, driving licence, address, date of birth and National Insurance number.
In February, HMRC arrested four people as part of an investigation into suspected Self Assessment repayment fraud and money laundering offences. The youngest of those arrested was aged just 16.
Miles Grady, Director of Umbrella.co.uk, said: “With cybercrime on the rise, even the smallest businesses need to be aware of fraudsters trying to get their private information.
“Umbrella.co.uk was recently awarded Cyber Essentials certification - a scheme backed by the UK Government to protect against the most common cyber attacks. Data security is a top priority for us and we work hard to make sure our customers’ financial information is secure.”
For more information about our services for contractors, speak to a member of the team today. Call: 0800 121 6513.