The latest scam to cross the Atlantic involves the fraudsters pretending to be HMRC officers and getting people to pay alleged tax debts by using iTunes gift cards. The point of using iTunes gift cards is that they can be easily redeemed and sold on. The scammers don’t need the physical card to redeem the value and instead get victims to read out the serial code on the back over the phone.
Fraudsters are leaving victims automated voicemails saying that they owe HMRC unpaid taxes. When victims call back on the number provided, they are told that there is a warrant out in their name and if they don’t pay, the police will arrest them.
In another variant of the scam the scammers are cold calling victims using a spoofed 0300 200 3300 number and convincing them that they owe unpaid tax to HMRC. A variation on this theme is scammers sending text messages that require victims to urgently call back on the number provided. When victims call back, they are told that there is a case being built against them for an outstanding debt and they must pay immediately.
If you receive an approach like this always remember that HMRC will never use texts to tell you about a tax rebate or penalty or ever ask for payment in using iTunes (or any other) gift cards. Don’t forget that telephone numbers and text messages can easily be spoofed. You should never trust the number you see on your telephones display and if you receive a suspicious cold call, end it immediately.