A sinister recording of a scam call used by fraudsters to scam pensioners has surfaced.
The robot caller claims to be from HM Revenue and Customs, the UK’s tax authority.
It reveals what it is like to receive a bogus call from scammers pretending to be from HMRC.
Fraudsters pretending to be from HMRC are leaving recorded messages threatening legal consequences if victims don't make a payment.
Earlier this year, an elderly lady from the Fylde coast lost over a thousand pounds to scammers claiming to be from HMRC.
She was told the figure would increase if she didn't make the payment immediately.
“The issue at hand is extremely time sensitive,” says the robotic voice.
“If you do not call us back or we do not here from your solicitors, either, then get ready to face the legal consequences".
According to security firm Comparitech, who published the recording, scammers are using the HMRC's looming self assessment tax return deadline to intimidate people.
A spokesman for Comparitech said: "With tens of thousands of people rushing to meet HMRC's self assessment tax return deadline, this latest phone scam is a well timed and calculated ploy by cyber criminals.
"They hope that by putting people under pressure, some of those targeted will be intimidated into handing over large sums of money."
Comparitech attempted to call the number back in order to find out more information, but no-one answered the call.
But other people who have reported the same message from the same number say they were asked to pay upwards of £3,000 in taxes. If they did not pay immediately, the scammer told them, that figure would increase 20-fold by the end of the day.
Police are now warning that the con-artists have been prolific across the whole of Lancashire and are asking residents to warn their elderly or vulnerable friends and relatives about the scam.
Another version of this scam says HMRC agents are observing the victim’s property and they need to call a number to prevent a raid.
If you receive such a call, you can safely ignore it. The HMRC will typically resolve any issues with your taxes through mail, not by phone.
What to do if you receive an HMRC scam call
If you receive a call claiming to be from the HMRC, search the phone number on the HMRC’s official website. If the number doesn’t come up, it’s probably a scam.
Scammers often attempt to instill a sense of urgency in victims to make them slip up. The real HMRC will not make threats over the phone, legal or otherwise, that require immediate action.
UK residents can report scam phone numbers to Action Fraud. HMRC scams in particular can be emailed to the agency’s phishing team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wherever you report the call, you’ll need to include:
- caller’s phone number
- date of the call
- brief description of the call