Income tax scam - be aware

Scammers are calling people in Fife pretending to be HM Revenue and Customs officers.
Scammers are calling people in Fife pretending to be HM Revenue and Customs officers.

Trading Standards at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar are advising residents that there have been reports of a cold calling scam, where the caller claims to be calling from HMRC.

The caller states that you have underpaid Income tax by £900 and that two notifications have already been sent by post.

Imminent court action is threatened unless the outstanding amount is paid immediately over the phone.

In some cases the caller has asked for payment to be made by money transfer or by purchasing gift cards (the consumer is asked to give the gift card numbers to the caller).

A spokesperson said: “Clearly we are concerned that this scam can cause distress and anxiety for elderly or vulnerable residents as the caller sounds official and depicts the matter as serious and urgent.

“As with all cold calls we warn that you should not give personal details or banking information over the phone to unverified callers.

“We also advise that residents register their phone numbers with the Telephone Preference Service along with any call blocking service which their telephone service providers operate.

“After intervention from the regulator The Office for Communications, OFCOM, the majority of telephone providers have now introduced nuisance calls blocking services.

“Some of these ,such as the BT Protect are provided free to the user.

“In cases where vulnerable consumers are harassed by telephone cold callers we would suggest purchasing robust call blocking technology.”

Trading Standards at CNES recently participated in the WHICH? nuisance calls campaign in Scotland.

According to the latest research carried out by Which? and call-blocking technology provider TrueCall, Scotland suffers the highest numbers of nuisance calls in the UK.

Scam calls can be reported to CNES Trading Standards on 01851 822694.