From: Volunteer & Neighbourhood Watch Liaison Officer, South East Kent Police
A couple from Tunbridge Wells lost Ten Thousand Pounds to this scam:
How Does the Scam work?
Victims usually receive an automated call, informing them that they face a legal case for non-payment of tax. Telephone numbers are selected at random from the online BT Directory. Those that call back are threatened with immediate arrest and prosecution unless they repay the money. The fraudsters often trick victims into making four or five more payments on the same call. Some victims are also cold called directly.
How many people are targeted?
Fraudsters hit up to ten thousand UK households a day with the recorded message. Other scammers operating from India run computer software service frauds and bogus calls claiming to be about loans and PPI refunds.
How to protect yourself?
Be alert. HMRC says it only calls people for payment of debts they are aware of. However some victims receive calls from scammers when they are expecting a genuine call from HMRC. If you are in any doubt about an incoming call end the conversation and contact HMRC using one of the numbers or online services available from it’s website. Report any suspicious calls to Action Fraud on Telephone. (0300)1232040 or on its website. Listen to the telephone number again at the foot of this page.
Can victims get their money back?
Currently banks often refuse to refund victims of these scams because their customer has authorised the online payment into the criminal account usually using their credit card reader. However some banks may offer compensation to victims when the loss is neither sides fault, details are still being finalised by the banks.