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Fraudsters have been blocked from using HMRC’s most used helpline numbers after the introduction of new defensive controls. These fraudsters had been able to make calls to taxpayers across the UK which appeared to be coming from HMRC by mimicking helpline numbers. These fraudsters are usually operating as part of large criminal gangs with deep pockets and cutting-edge technological to target taxpayers.
This scam worked as taxpayers would receive calls and, on checking the numbers online, would find they appeared to belong to HMRC. This led many people to believe the fake calls were real and thus enabled fraud. In the last year alone, HMRC received over 100,000 phone scam reports.
The new controls, created in partnership with the telecommunications industry and Ofcom, will prevent spoofing of HMRC’s most used inbound helpline numbers and are the first to be used by a government department in the UK. This does not mean that the fraudsters will be completely stopped but does mean they will have to use less credible numbers that should be easier to spot.
HMRC also confirms that they will only ever call about a debt that has already been the subject of a letter from HMRC or that you have been otherwise notified. You will also no longer be required to read aloud your card details to HMRC over the phone.