People are being warned to beware of telephone fraudsters claiming to be Revenue and Customs investigators.
We have been contacted by readers who say they have been the victim of a “scary” telephone scam this morning telling them they are a suspect in an HMRC fraud case.
The fraudsters have left a message on mobile voicemails using the number 0131 4634675.
Nottinghamshire Police are looking into the scam.
The message has been reported several times on the website https://who-called.co.uk.
One person targeted said: “This number called me and I couldn’t answer so went to voicemail.
“When I listened to it, it was a horrible scary sounding automated message stating my house was under surveillance.
“That would scare the old and vulnerable.
“I presume as they’re asking me to call them back their motive is money?
“Why else leave this sort of distressing message?”
Another said: “I received a 25 second automated voicemail and a male voice informed me about a lawsuit against y name and listed as a primary suspect and said my house was under surveillance and any delay with calling them back on the mentioned number can entail a legal prosecution against me.”
HMRC has confirmed that this is a scam along with any telephone calls offering a tax refund if the caller provides bank or credit card information.
The calls have been made using a variety of phone numbers and HMRC is keen to hear from anyone who has experienced such calls by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Councillor Gordon Wheeler, Vice-Chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council’s Communities and Place Committee, said: “There are currently a wide range of scams purporting to be from the HMRC involving payments and refunds, which can also be in the form of an email or a direct message via social media.
“These telephone calls in particular put people on the spot and require them to make a quick decision, so we are urging people to ignore all such calls.”
A spokesman from Ashfield Citizens Advice said:
“People need to be on their guard against financial and legal scams following a rise in cases reported to the Citizens Advice consumer service.
Citizens Advice Ashfield is now showing people how to spot scams as it launches Scams Awareness Month.
A total of 1200 financial and legal scams were reported to the consumer service in the year ending April 2018 - a six per cent increase on the year before.
The median loss for the scams was £330.
Kathryn Stacey, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Ashfield said:
“Scammers can make for convincing white collar professionals, especially online, and are skilled at persuading people they are legitimate.
“The stakes are high with financial and legal scams as you can end up losing your savings or pension fund, which can put your long-term financial stability at risk.
“When you get approached about any investment, don’t rush into anything without making sure it’s legitimate first, particularly when you’re contacted out of the blue.”
To help stop more people being fleeced by these types of scams, Citizens Advice Ashfield is sharing tips on how to spot them:
Be suspicious if you’re contacted out of the blue, even if it’s from a name you recognise
Don’t be rushed – you never need to make a decision straight away
If it sounds too good to be true it probably is
Never send money to someone you have never met
Never give out your bank details unless you are certain you can trust the person contacting you
Walk away from job ads that ask for money in advance
Genuine computer firms do not make unsolicited phone calls to help you fix your computer
Suspect a scam? Hang up, wait five minutes to clear the line or use another phone to call
Persuasive sales patter? Just say: “No Thank You”
Don’t suffer in silence – speak out about scams