HMRC has shared information on the steps they take to combat scams and fraud, as well as issuing new guidance for students.
According to HMRC’s statistics, in the last year (September 2020 – August 2021) they have:
- responded to 998,485 referrals of suspicious contact from the public. Nearly 440,730 of these offered bogus tax rebates;
- worked with the telecoms industry and Ofcom to remove 2,020 phone numbers being used to commit HMRC-related phone scams;
- responded to 413,527 reports of phone scams in total, 92% up on the previous year. In April last year they received reports of only 425 phone scams. In August 2021 this had risen to 3,269;
- reported 12,705 malicious web pages for takedown;
- detected 463 Covid-related financial scams since March 2020, most by text message; and
- asked Internet Service Providers to take down 443 Covid-related scam web pages.
As part of their campaign to protect the public against HMRC-branded cyber and telephone scams, they have also issued a press release warning university students of the risks they may face as the academic year begins.