Millions of customers have been warned against potential fraudsters imitating the government and trying to steal their personal information or money.
reminder from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) comes as 2.1 million tax credit customers are expected to renew their annual claims by July 31.
Government department is warning customers they may be more vulnerable criminals copying their messages.
fraudsters Use phone calls, text messages and emails to try to defraud individuals.
This includes making phone calls to them, threatening to arrest people if they do not pay the fraudulent taxes immediately, sometimes claiming that the victim’s National Insurance number has been fraudulently used, or Fake tax exemption, fake COVID-19 grant or direct debit payment claim with email or text has failed.
In the 12 months leading up to April this year, HMRC responded to nearly 277,000 referrals of suspected contacts received from the public.
HMRC’s Director General of Customer Services, Myrtle Lloyd, said: “We are urging all our customers to be really careful if someone asks them for money or bank details.
“There are a lot of scams out there where fraudsters are calling, texting or emailing customers claiming to be from HMRC.
“If you have any doubts, we suggest you don’t reply directly, and contact us directly. Search GOV.UK For our ‘Scams Checklist’ and ‘How to Report Tax Scams’ to find out.”
In the meantime, tax credit customers renewing their annual claims are reminded that they won’t be charged for the service.
HMRC has also urged them to beware of misleading websites or advertisements designed to make them pay for government services which should be free.
Customers using the HMRC app on their smartphone will be able to:
- renew their tax credit
- Update their claim changes
- check their tax credit payment schedule, and
- Find out how much he earned in a year
HMRC has released a video explaining how Tax Credit customers can use the HMRC App to view, manage and update their details.
If there is a change in a customer’s circumstances that could affect their tax credit claims, they must report the changes to HMRC.
Circumstances affecting tax credit payment include changes to:
- taking care of children
- working hours, or
- income (increase or decrease)
Tax credits expire and will be replaced by Universal Credit by the end of 2024.
Many customers who move from tax credit to Universal Credit can be better off financially – and can use a free mileage calculator to check.
If customers choose to apply early, it is important to get independent advice beforehand as they will not be able to go back to the tax credit or any other benefit that replaces Universal Credit.
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