Does the taxman want to arrest me?
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.