Telephone scam prompts warning to east Kent residents
A telephone scam targeting people in the east of the county has resulted in police issuing a warning.
A number of people in Romney Marsh, Broadstairs and Ramsgate have reported that they have received phone calls claiming they are under investigation by the HMRC and they may be sued. It encourages the person to call a manager where the scammers attempt to obtain personal details.
Over 30 people in have reported receiving the calls. All the reports are now being investigated by Action Fraud.
Sergeant Greg Pochin said: ‘HMRC would never contact people in this way, so be on your guard. If you receive an automated call asking you to contact another number – it’s a scam. HMRC would also never ask you to reveal personal information, such as your bank account details, so if you receive a call of this nature, hang up and do not engage.’
HMRC have also advised people to be wary of phone scams. A spokesperson said: ‘Phone scams are widely reported, and generally attempt to target elderly and vulnerable people. They often involve people receiving a call out of the blue and being told that HMRC is investigating them. If you can’t verify the identity of the caller, we recommend that you do not speak to them.
‘HMRC will call people about outstanding tax bills, and sometimes use automated messages, however it 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 online if you are unsure. For tax credits we do not include your details in any voicemail messages.’
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org and texts to 60599, or contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 to report any suspicious calls or use their online fraud reporting tool.
- CheckGOV.UK for information on how to avoid and report scams and recognise genuine HMRC contact.
- If you think you have received an HMRC related phishing/bogus email or text message, you can check it against the examples shown in this guide.
PSE 59727 Andrew Judd
Volunteer & Neighbourhood Watch Liaison Officer,
for South East Kent Police.