National Insurance number scam: Fresh HMRC fraud warning issues as criminals spoof calls

Insurance Fraud Bureau warns of ghost broking scams

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A fresh scam alert has been issued following an increasing number of concerned individuals having contacted Government offices about scam emails and phone calls, Action Fraud has warned. Offices across Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) have received calls from members of the public, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime said.

Scammers have been mimicking legitimate phone numbers, a tactic known as spoofing.

They may allege that the person being targeted owes HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) money, and that a warrant for their arrest has been issued.

Worryingly, the fraudsters may also tell the recipient of the call to look up contact details for HMCTS courts and offices, to verify the number they are using to call.

Action Fraud said these calls can include claims of previous mistakes in tax returns.

Another tactic being used in the calls is the claim that National Insurance numbers are being used fraudulently.

HMCTS is separate from HMRC and is not involved with tax payments.

The Department will not contact people about tax matters.

Furthermore, HMRC does not use any HMCTS phone numbers, Action Fraud stated.

“HMCTS will not call or email you about a tax matter,” the national reporting centre reiterated.

“If you receive a call or email, or any type of contact, do not provide any personal details or make a payment.”

Yesterday, the verified HMCTS Twitter account issued a fraud alert.

The tweet read: “We are aware of scammers mimicking genuine HMCTS phone numbers.

“Scammers claim to be from @HMRCgovuk.

“Our call centres will not call or email you about a tax matter.”

The final part of the tweet encouraged social media users to read further details on the alert including guidance on how to recognise genuine HMRC contacts.

This is available on the Government website and links can be found on the Action Fraud site.

Reports about a National Insurance scam emerged earlier this year.

Pauline Smith, Head of Action Fraud, said at the time: “We are asking the public to remain vigilant and be cautious of any automated calls they receive mentioning their National Insurance number becoming compromised.

“It’s important to remember if you’re contacted out the blue by someone asking for your personal or financial details, this could be a scam.

“Even confirming personal details, such as your email address, date of birth or mother’s maiden name, can be used by criminals to commit fraud.

“If you have any doubts about what is being asked of you, hang up the phone.

“No legitimate organisation will rush or pressure you.”

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