Sidmouth and Ottery warning over fraudster phone scam

FRAUDSTER thieves are targeting rate payers with scam phone calls in which in which they pretend to be the tax man.

Victims risk having their bank accounts emptied and their personal details sold on to organised crime gangs.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has warned residents and businesses in Sidmouth and Ottery to be vigilant of the swindle.

They say the fraudsters inform taxpayers they are due a rebate, and ask for bank card details over the phone. Criminals then attempt to take money from the account using the details provided.

The warning comes amid a recent surge in the number of tax scam ‘phishing’ emails reported to HMRC. In the last three months, HMRC has shut down over 180 websites that were responsible for sending out the fake tax rebate emails.

Chris Hopson, director of customer contact at HMRC said: “We only ever contact customers who are due a tax refund in writing by post. We never use telephone calls, emails or external companies in these circumstances. We strongly urge anyone receiving such a phone call not to give any information to the caller, but report it to the police straightaway.

“If customers receive an email claiming to be from HMRC, we recommend they send it to us for investigation before deleting it permanently.”

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HMRC thoroughly investigates phishing attacks and works with other law enforcement agencies in the UK and overseas.