Warning for millions on tax credits over HMRC scam

MILLIONS of customers have been warned of potential fraudsters mimicking the government and trying to steal their personal information or money.

The reminder from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) comes as 2.1 million tax credits customers are expected to renew their annual claims by July 31.

The government department is warning those customers they could be more susceptible to criminals mimicking messages from them.

Fraudsters use phone calls, text messages and emails to try and dupe individuals.

This includes them making phone calls threatening to arrest people if they don't immediately pay fictitious tax owed, sometimes by claiming the victim's National Insurance number has been used fraudulently, or with emails or texts offering fake tax rebates, bogus Covid-19 grants or claiming a direct debit payment has failed.

In the 12 months up to April this year, HMRC responded to nearly 277,000 referrals of suspicious contacts received from the public.


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Myrtle Lloyd, HMRC’s director general for customer services, said: "We’re urging all of our customers to be really careful if they are contacted out of the blue by someone asking for money or bank details.

"There are a lot of scams out there where fraudsters are calling, texting or emailing customers claiming to be from HMRC.

"If you have any doubts, we suggest you don’t reply directly, and contact us straight away. Search GOV.UK for our ‘scams checklist’ and to find out ‘how to report tax scams'."

Meanwhile, tax credits customers renewing their annual claims are reminded they will not be charged for the service.

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HMRC has also urged them to be wary of misleading websites or adverts designed to make them pay for government services that should be free.

Those wanting to renew their tax credits can do so via gov.uk or the HMRC app and are reminded to search gov.uk to get hold of the genuine information and guidance.

Customers choosing to use the HMRC app on their smartphone will be able to:

  • Renew their tax credits
  • Update changes to their claim
  • Check their tax credits payments schedule, and
  • Find out how much they have earned for the year

HMRC has released a video explaining how tax credits customers can use the HMRC app to view, manage and update their details.

If there is a change in a customer’s circumstances which could affect their tax credits claims, they must report the changes to HMRC.

Circumstances that could affect tax credits payments include changes to:

  • Living arrangements
  • Childcare
  • Working hours, or
  • Income (increase or decrease)

Tax credits are ending and will be replaced by Universal Credit by the end of 2024.

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Many customers who move from tax credits to Universal Credit could be financially better off and – can use an independent benefits calculator to check.

If customers choose to apply sooner, it is important to get independent advice beforehand as they will not be able to go back totax credits or any other benefits that Universal Credit replaces.

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