There seem to be three current scams to be aware of.
Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls claiming to be from HMRC
We have received a large number of reports in the last week from Norfolk residents about telephone cold calls claiming to be from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). Norfolk Constabulary has also reported high numbers of contacts to them regarding this type of cold call.
The majority of these have reported an automated recorded message call regarding a ‘warrant being issued for your arrest due to unpaid tax’.
We have also had reports of similar calls that have claimed to be from ‘the Police’ regarding ‘arrest warrants for unpaid tax’ and voicemail message requiring the recipient to ‘urgently contact HMRC’ which then give a contact number to call.
Where residents have interacted with these calls demands are then made for ‘immediate payment’ alongside further threats of ‘arrest’, ‘court appearances’ and ‘stopping pensions’ if their demands are not met.
We always advise to be very wary of any approach made by a telephone cold call. If you receive this type of call our advice is do not interact with the call and hang up.
HMRC have issued the following advice regarding these cold calls:
Recognise the signs – genuine organisations like banks and HMRC will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your PIN, password or bank details
Stay safe – don’t give out private information, reply to text messages, download attachments or click on links in emails you weren’t expecting
Take action – forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to firstname.lastname@example.org and texts to 60599, or contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 to report any suspicious calls or use their online fraud reporting tool.
If you think you have received an HMRC related phishing/bogus email or text message, you can check it against the examples shown in this guide.
HMRC will call people about outstanding tax bills, and sometimes use automated messages, however this would include a taxpayer reference number. If uncertain of the caller, we would advise customers to hang up and call HMRC directly to check – customers can confirm the call centre numbers onGOV.UK. For tax credits HMRC do not include customer details in any voicemail messages.
HMRC Debt management teams do contact members of the public by phone about paying outstanding debts.
Calls to and from the majority of HMRC offices will start with the prefix, 0300 or 0345
If a customer (or agent) isn’t confident that the call is from HMRC, we will ask them to call back. Depending on the circumstances and to give the customer confidence it is actually HMRC calling, information may be disclosed to the caller which only HMRC is party to.
Calls from the majority of HMRC offices will leave caller identification data, ie the number the caller has used to contact you from.
Scam Alert – Telephone cold calls regarding a ‘compulsory loft insulation inspection’
We are warning again about telephone cold calls regarding loft insulation.
This follows a report from a Norfolk resident who received a cold call during which the caller stated they needed to make an appointment for a ‘compulsory loft insulation inspection’ at the residents’ property. Fortunately, in this case resident recognised the approach as a scam call, hung up and reported the incident to us.
Always be very wary of any approach made in a telephone cold call and never give or confirm any personal details or agree to someone visiting your home if approached in this manner.
Rogue Trader Alert – Doorstep cold callers offering mattresses
Residents need to watch out for cold callers offering mattresses in the Bowthorpe area.
Two men were seen going door to door offering mattresses to householders claiming they had come from ‘local show homes’. They were seen to return to a white luton bodied van.
Never deal with anyone who cold calls at your property or approaches you in the street offering to sell you something.
It is possible these doorstep cold callers could move on to other locations within Norfolk.
Anyone sighting doorstep cold callers in Norfolk or concerned about rogue trader activity in their community can contact Trading Standards through our partners the Citizens Advice consumer helpline via their online reporting form or by telephone on 03454 04 05 06.