HM Revenue and Customs has issued a warning that fraudsters are targeting the public in a new form of identity fraud, hijacking Government log-ins and national insurance details via social media to make false tax self-assessment claims by proxy and pocket the cash.
Chartered accountancy firm RIFT Tax Refunds, a personal tax refunds specialist, provides the following advice to ensure that you do not fall foul of scammers:
- No legitimate tax refund firm will ask for your details over Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. If you see a Google Ad or a display ad on social media that suggests you provide any personal details, then you may assume that it’s dodgy.
- The most foolproof way to ensure that your tax refund is legitimately undertaken is to seek recommendations from friends or colleagues who have previously engaged in a professional firm.
- Google them, a legitimate tax refund firm will have a significant digital footprint. Not just a website but a social media history and, importantly, a history of press and media coverage (positive, of course).
- Do not pay anything upfront. Established tax refund specialists will work on a ‘no win-’no fee’ basis and will not ask you for money on account of a ‘registration fee’.
- Above all, if you speak to a company that purports to be a genuine tax refund agency and it doesn’t seem or sound right, then it probably isn’t
CEO of RIFT Tax Refunds Bradley Post says: ‘There seems to be no limit to the lengths that scammers will go to defraud the hardworking public of their money and the latest ruse is to adopt a person’s HMRC credentials and to purport to be that person when filing for tax refunds.’
‘Tax refunds themselves are a little known, largely untapped source of annual finance and those working within construction, training and energy sectors, as well as the military, are often the most frequently owed a refund by HMRC due to the fact they work from temporary or numerous locations regularly.’
Bradley added: ‘Perhaps it is the general failure to claim these refunds that has caught the attention of fraudsters who see them as easy money should they be able to access the required details to submit one.’
‘As with any process, particularly one involving your financial welfare, ensure that the company you are dealing with is legitimate and should anyone ask for payment or personal details upfront or via platforms such as social media, cease communication with them immediately.’