By Kate Brown
Scammers who have been replicating the HMRC official site in order to direct the public into calling numbers with extortionate costs have been challenged by HMRC. According to analyses, HMRC has saved the public around £2.4 million by stopping these fraudsters.
The fake sites provided the public with premium rate phone numbers, which ultimately reached HMRC through a costly call forwarding service. However, HMRC’s official 0300 numbers are typically free to callers or are charged at the national landline rate.
Mel Stride MP, Treasury Minister and Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said: “This is a brazen con, charging premium rates whilst simply redirecting calls to the real HMRC numbers that are available at low or no cost. It is a testament to the hard work of HMRC that they have prevented criminals extracting £2.4 million from the public.”
Andrew Griffiths MP, Consumer Minister, commented: “Anyone can fall victim to scams and the cost can be devastating, so it’s great to see HMRC cracking down on these bogus websites and protecting the public’s purse.”
£236 million lost in the last year due to payment fraud
HMRC investigations into SMEs yield over £500m in the last year