Using an iPhone? Keep an eye out for tax refund scammers

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has warned that a new wave of fraudulent text messages is targeting taxpayers using iPhones, claiming that recipients are owed tax refunds and must supply personal information to receive them.

Some recipients are also being asked to follow a link to access their refund, which is disguised to appear legitimate.

This latest incident comes as HMRC-related scam messages rise sharply, growing by 36 per cent per annum between January 2022 and January 2023.

Recognising an incident

HMRC is aware of the issue and is working to tackle it. It has urged taxpayers to be cautious and be on the lookout for any fraudulent communications purporting to be from HMRC.

This includes text messages, as well as emails, phone calls, social media and WhatsApp messages, both on Apple and other devices.

HMRC has also warned recipients of these messages to exercise caution when asked to act quickly or send personal details via text message – as these are common warning signs of fraudulent activity.

Finally, it has confirmed that it avoids using methods of communication commonly used by fraudsters, particularly steering clear of requesting personal details via text message.

If you are concerned about communications relating to a tax refund, contact your accountant for advice.

Reporting an attack

The issue that many taxpayers are facing with this new campaign of scam messages is that it is difficult to report and block the number.

Fraudsters are using legitimate business phone numbers or Apple accounts to send messages, meaning they often cannot be blocked by the recipient.

Many recipients are also facing issues in reporting scam messages to Ofcom’s designated anti-spam line because they are often sent from legitimate business numbers.

For further advice on tax, tax refunds and staying safe as a taxpayer, please contact our team today.

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