News Article

HMRC and iTunes gift card scam

Published 27 March 2017 by

6 April is the start of the 2017 tax year – which means you won't have to grapple with your tax return for a while now.

You'll receive a notification from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) if the amount of tax you've paid isn't correct.  Fraudsters know this, that's why they're targeting people claiming to be from HMRC and asking them to pay outstanding debts using iTunes gift cards.

To make sure you don't fall for this tax scam, we're taking you through the details.

What happens?

Fraudsters are contacting victims claiming to be from HMRC. They tell them that they owe an outstanding debt and ask for payment in iTunes gift card voucher codes.

The way the fraudsters contact people can vary. You might receive a voicemail from someone claiming to be from HMRC and asking you to call back on the number they leave for you. They might even tell you that there is a warrant out for your arrest unless you make a payment through iTunes vouchers.

Other victims have received a phone call using a spoofed 0300 200 3300 number or a text message requesting that the victim calls back on the number provided. When you call, the scammer will tell you that HMRC are building a case against you for outstanding debt that you must pay straightaway.

Fraudsters request the money in iTunes gift cards because they can easily redeem the money or sell the gift card on. They'll ask you to read out the serial code on the back of the gift card over the phone.

How do I spot it?

It's natural to panic when you're told you have an outstanding tax debt. However, you need to remember that HMRC will:

• never contact you by text message to inform you of a tax penalty or rebate,

• never ask for any payment in iTunes Vouchers, and

• only send a P800 tax calculations in the post if you have a job or get a pension.

If someone contacts you out of the blue, stop and think about the following.

• Never trust the number on your telephone display as proving the caller is genuine. Fraudsters can easily spoof telephone numbers.

• Don’t give out sensitive information over the phone. This includes your bank details, National Insurance number and passport number.

• Hang up if you receive an unexpected call from someone claiming to be from HMRC and asking for payment in the form of iTunes vouchers.

Think you've already fallen for a scam like this? You can report the scam to Action Fraud using their online reporting tool

Fraudsters won't just contact you about fake outstanding tax debts – find out how to avoid HMRC tax rebate scams.

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