Hertfordshire Constabulary is making residents aware of reports of scam phone calls, text messages and emails received about unpaid National Insurance contributions.
Residents have been contacted by the fraudsters claiming to be Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) over the last few days.
The victims were told there were outstanding National Insurance debts or unpaid taxes in their names and the fraudsters asked the victims to make bank transfers as payment.
Numerous members of the public also reported receiving missed calls from Hertfordshire Constabulary phone numbers, as well as emails about National Insurance, containing police contact numbers.
The fraudsters cold call victims using a spoofed number that appears to be a genuine Hertfordshire Constabulary phone number, sometimes leaving voicemail messages claiming that they owe payments. The victims are asked to call back on the number provided, through which they are told that there is a warrant out in their name and if they don’t pay, the police will arrest them.
The victims are also sometimes contacted via text messages asking them to urgently call the number provided, or via emails which contain bogus links.
Detective Chief Inspector Sam Khanna, from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Serious Fraud and Cyber Unit, said: “These fraudsters tend to target elderly and vulnerable people and use the threat of arrest to frighten them into making bank transfers or using other methods to pay bogus debts or fines.
“It’s important to remember that government officials and police officers will NEVER contact you in these ways or ask you to buy gift cards, vouchers, withdraw money, purchase goods or hand over private banking details.
“Please help us to raise awareness by talking about this with your friends and family, especially if they are vulnerable or elderly.”
How to protect yourself:
- HMRC will never use texts to tell you about a tax rebate or penalty or ever ask for payment in this way.
- Telephone numbers and text messages can easily be spoofed. You should never trust the number you see on your telephone display.
- If you receive a suspicious cold call, end it immediately.
- If you receive a suspicious email, never click on the link contained within.
- Retain any details and report to Action Fraud unless the fraud is in progress, in which case dial 999.
If you believe that you are a victim of this scam please contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 to report, using a different phone to that used to communicate with the fraudsters. If a fraud is in progress or someone’s life is in danger, call 999 immediately.
Visit www.actionfraud.police.uk or herts.police.uk/protectyourmoney for advice on avoiding scams.