Does the tax­man want to ar­rest me?

The Daily Telegraph - Your Money - - READERS’ LETTERS -

On re­turn­ing home to­day I found a mes­sage on my an­swer­ing ma­chine claim­ing to be from HMRC. The mes­sage stated that an ar­rest war­rant had been is­sued un­der my name and I should press “one” to speak to my case of­fi­cer.

I took no ac­tion as I con­sid­ered this to be a scam. How­ever, I feel this should be high­lighted as some peo­ple could be very fright­ened to re­ceive such a call. RM, MID­LOTH­IAN

I un­der­stand HMRC has heard from many other mem­bers of the pub­lic who have had sim­i­lar calls.

The tax of­fice said: “Phone scams are widely re­ported, and gen­er­ally at­tempt to tar­get el­derly and vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple. We are a well-known body, which criminals abuse to add cred­i­bil­ity to their scams.

“If some­one calls you claim­ing to be from HMRC and say­ing that you will be ar­rested, that we are fil­ing a law­suit against you, or even that you are owed a tax re­fund, and asks for in­for­ma­tion such as your name or credit card or bank de­tails, then it’s a scam.”

How­ever, HMRC added that its debt man­age­ment teams did con­tact mem­bers of the pub­lic by phone about

out­stand­ing debts. Such com­mu­ni­ca­tions, though, would not come out of the blue as the per­son be­ing called would al­ready know about the mat­ter.

The tax of­fice it­self will also call peo­ple about out­stand­ing tax bills and does some­times use au­to­mated mes­sages, but these au­to­mated calls would in­clude the tax­payer ref­er­ence num­ber. If there is any un­cer­tainty, call HMRC on one of the call cen­tre num­bers listed at gov.uk.

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