Social media users targeted in a tax scam

It has been reported to local authorities that scammers have been asking users on social media platforms to “borrow” their identities with the promise of a “risk-free” tax refund in return. The scammers will try to obtain your personal details to submit bogus tax refund claims and then keep the repayment. They are targeting anyone from teenagers to pensioners on the promise of the refund.

Handing over personal information is very risky as you could involve yourself in tax fraud and end up having to pay back the full value of the fraudulent claim.

If you are approached or have been approached by someone asking of for information you can report it to HMRC here:

www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-revenue-customs/contact/report-fraud-to-hmrc


      Employment Scams

“Which” reported that job seekers between the ages of 18 and 24 are the most likely to be targeted by job scams and on average victims can lose around £4000. As more and more people are going online to search for jobs it has presented a new opportunity for scammers.

A common type of employment scam is recruitment agents who contact you and offer a job which often does not exist. This will usually happen after you have placed your CV or personal details on a job site. You are then contacted by someone claiming to be an employer or recruitment agent to tell you they are considering you for a job. You will then be asked to complete a questionnaire and you may receive a telephone interview.

You will then be told you have been successful and you will be told about the administration process and you will be asked to pay various administration fees before you can begin work. This may involve costs for travel, accommodation and visas if the job is abroad. Once you pay one fee then the scammer will introduce another, they will also ask for you bank details to arrange for your wages to be paid but the reality is once they have access to your bank account they will steal whatever money is in it.

The job will never materialise and there have been reports of people turning up for work only to be told by the business in question that they had never heard of them and no job exists.

For further advice and information on how to protect yourself please visit:
www.jobsaware.co.uk/jobseeking-advice


  Warranty or Insurance Scams

Scammers have been cold calling residents and trying to sell them warranties or insurances for their televisions, streaming box, washing machines or other appliances.

These calls are usually unsolicited and can take various forms, below are some examples of what maybe said.

  • Your TV / washing machine / boiler insurance is due to be renewed.
  • You are asked to give your bank details and you might be told that you are eligible for a special deal because you have a no claims bonus
  • Your Sky box needs to be replaced. You are asked to provide your bank details so that a new box can be sent out to you
  • A maintenance payment is due for your TV. The caller might say that court proceedings will be started against you if you don’t pay
  • You need to renew your plumbing or draining cover

We would always recommend that you do not rush into a contract for an extended warranty or insurance product as a result of an unsolicited call. Never give a cold caller any personal information or bank details. Take your time and decide if you want an extended warranty or extra insurance. We would always advise that you contact the original supplier of the appliance to check whether you need a new warranty.


Remote access takeover scam

This type of scam will usually begin with an unsolicited phone call from someone claiming to be from a well know company. They might tell you that there is an issue with a refund owed to you, that they are trying to solve technical problems with your computer or WI-FI or you are a victim of fraud.

You will then be told that they need to download software onto you device or mobile to help fix things. You will then be asked to log into your online or mobile banking and share the screen with the remote software you have downloaded. At this point the scammer will be able to take full control of your account and use your details to steal all the money in your account.

No genuine company would ever call you unsolicited and ask for remote access to your devices. We always advise not to give out personal details, payment details, online or mobile banking credentials to anyone who calls you unannounced. If you are not sure if the call is genuine, hang up and call the company they said they were on a number you know is genuine.


If you need advice or want to report a scam contact the Citizens Advice Service helpline on: 0808 223 1133