Updated: Mar 2
Reports of scam phone calls have fallen by 97% over the last 12 months, according to the latest figures from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
Reports of scammers impersonating HMRC in phone calls peaked at 79,477 in March 2021 and fell to just 2,491 in December 2021, a sharp decline.
The fall in scam call reports to HMRC has also been seen elsewhere with a 92% drop in phishing email reports and a 97% drop in scam text reports over the last year.
This signals that the public is more aware of cyber criminals and the methods they use to trick people. HMRC attributes this in part to their efforts to raise awareness of scam calls. HMRC also works with the telecoms industry to remove phone numbers being used to commit HMRC-related phone scams.
Mike Fell, HMRC's Head of Cyber Security Operations, said:
"We work incredibly hard to protect the public from these criminals who ruin lives by stealing from people. It's great news that fewer people are receiving and reporting these attempted frauds, but it is still important they continue to report suspicious contact to us.
We will continue to do everything we can to protect the public from these cynical attempts to impersonate HMRC to steal from people.
Our advice is - never let yourself be rushed. If someone contacts you saying they are from HMRC, wanting you to urgently transfer money or give personal information, be on your guard. HMRC will never ring up threatening arrest, only criminals do that. Contacts like these should set alarm bells ringing, so take your time and check HMRC scams advice on GOV.UK.”
HMRC’s scam advice is:
Take a moment to think before parting with your money or information.
If a phone call, text or email is unexpected, don’t give out private information or reply, and don’t download attachments or click on links before checking on GOV.UK that the contact is genuine.
Do not trust caller ID on phones. Numbers can be spoofed.
It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests - only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
Search ‘scams’ on GOV.UK for information on how to recognise genuine HMRC contact and how to avoid and report scams.
Forward suspicious texts claiming to be from HMRC to 60599 and emails to email@example.com. Report tax scam phone calls on GOV.UK.
Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen victim to a scam, and report it to Action Fraud (in Scotland, contact the police on 101).
Source: HMRC press release