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HMRC COVID-19 scam expands to all types of communication

Posted 17/04/20

In March, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) warned about a new HMRC-branded scam text claiming that the government are offering lump-sum payments "as part of its promise to battle COVID-19."

Each text specified a particular sum and asks the recipient to tap the link to a bogus website which requests payment details from the recipient. It is simply a means for criminals to gain access to bank accounts.

Recently, this scam theme has expanded from text and emails to telephone calls from bogus civil servants.

This week, HMRC advised the public that all of these messages and phone calls are fake, with the government department advising the public that it will, "never text, email or phone to ask for bank details, PIN or passwords."

CTSI Lead Officer, Katherine Hart, said: "The HMRC scams are among the most dangerous, as they misuse the most authoritative brand in the country - the government. The unprecedented coronavirus pandemic has left millions of people in a perilous financial state, due to mass redundancies and furloughing, and this situation makes the general public more vulnerable to these kinds of despicable scams.

"Some of the messages look extremely official and realistic, but the public must always remember that HMRC will never ask you for your banking PIN or passwords.

"CTSI and our consumer protection partners are doing everything we can to warn and advise the public in the wake of this surge in scams. We must all exercise additional caution during this challenging time."

ENDS

Notes for Editors:

CTSI Press Office: pressoffice@tsi.org.uk, 01268 582240

Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI)

CTSI is a training and membership organisation that has represented the interests of the Trading Standards profession since 1881 nationally and internationally. We aim to raise the profile of the profession while working towards fairer, better informed and safer consumer and business communities.

CTSI's members are engaged in delivering frontline trading standards services in local authorities and in businesses. www.tradingstandards.uk



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