In a news item shortly before Christmas – HMRC issues Christmas warning about iTunes gift card scam – we highlighted a scam targeted at older or vulnerable people.
This scam is still being widely used. In a recent press release HMRC explained what it has been doing to combat the scam.
The scammers prey on victims by cold calling them and impersonating an HMRC member of staff. They tell them that they owe large amounts of tax that they can only pay off through digital vouchers and gift cards. Victims are told to buy the vouchers and then read out the redemption code to the scammer, who has kept them on the phone. The conmen then sell on the codes or purchase high-value products at the victim’s expense.
As well as a public awareness campaign, HMRC has written to the chief executives of major UK retailers, urging them to share details of a prolific scam with all their staff, so that they can spot unsuspecting victims when they come to buy vouchers or gift cards.
Members may wish to make sure that clients who might be likely targets are aware of this scam. It goes without saying that HMRC never asks for payment by this method.