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back to article Taxman warns on phone fraud

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs is warning people not to fall for unsolicited phone calls claiming to be offering tax rebates. The scammers, mirroring an almost identical email spam campaign, phone up and request bank details in order to pay over the tax rebate. If the mark is gullible enough to hand over bank details they …

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Anonymous Coward

"bank details" and "websites which were sending out the spam"

By "bank details" do you mean account name and number? That stuff isn't really secret; companies have it printed on their letterheads. What exactly were the crooks doing with the "details" in this case?

Also, I didn't realise that websites sent out spam, or any kind of e-mail. I thought SMTP clients did that.

Is this supposed to be a tech website?

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Grenade

“We only ever contact customers who are due a tax refund in writing by post"?

I call bullshit on that - I had a call from my local tax office a couple of years ago telling me I was due a refund (I'd been paying emergency tax for 3 years!). I gave no personal information and got a mahoosive (to me, anyway) cheque through the post a week or so later.

Cool.

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Unusual though.

PAYE overpayments are repaid by cheque without contacting the taxpayer first (unless more info is needed).

It certainly isn't standard practice.

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Gates Horns

honey pots needed

What we need is an officially sanctioned supply of honey pot bank and credit card account details. Accounts that if accessed trigger a automatic visit from local law enforcement. Poisoning their haul with fake account details is a moments fun but doesn't get the bastards locked up.

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Grenade

agreed then give those details to hmrc to pay tax bill!!!

lets see what happens then....

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Unhappy

... their details will probably then be sold on to other crooks

Crooks other than the tax people?

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I object..

..to providing my bank details on my tax return, not even knowing whether there is a rebate or not. I know it's a trivial issue, because I'm sure that the banks would roll over and provide bank account details to a suitable request from HM Customs and Revenue, but it just feels wrong.

Let them send me a cheque if I am owed money. Don't know what will happen when cheques are withdrawn, but I'll face that one when I come across it.

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I wouldn't worry so much

If you receive interest on the bank account, the bank already supplies details of the account to HMRC as a matter of course, so they already know about it.

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Re I object.

There still a box you can tick if you want a repayment by cheque.

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How timely.

We had one of those phone calls this morning.

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Joke

Seriously

The tax office, going out of their way to try and give you money they owe?

I wouldn't have thought anyone would fall for an obvious scam like that

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Curious

I have always been curious about how, by giving someone your 'bank details' (presumably account number and sort code), someone can take your money. I always thought this would only help them deposit money... Maybe I am missing something, can anyone enlighten me?

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Direct debit

It's easily done...they can use these details to set up a direct debit the same way as any legit company.

All they need is a signed DD mandate which is not too hard to fake.

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Stop

the unfortunate answer

Unfortunately the bank system is very trusting and was designed for a time when only well established, honorable banks and large corporations had access to the banking network. Anyone authorized on the bank network can make withdrawals from any account without any further permission and the system is designed to fix the odd mistake by having the victim complain about the withdrawal after the fact. The system is designed to handle the odd typo is slipped in by Vesa/Mastercard or the utility company.

The problem is when you start to throw ewallet/echeque compannes into the mix. Paypal/Neteller etc will do the honorable thing and make a small deposit into the account you specify to ensure that you entered the correct bank details before taking money. They do that voluntarily to avoid support nightmares and to avoid getting too many complains with the banks.

Now throw in the dodgy companies. They don't check anything and will make a withdrawal on any account you specify because they expect the person starting the transaction to have done all of the right checks. If they get too many complaints from the banks they will terminate your account to avoid the bank doing it to them but a wink and a nod later and you have a new account and can continue being a menace until you rack up too many complaints again. Each cycle means they keep some of the money in case of chargebacks from the closed account to collect interest on for the next 6 months so they are very motivated to keep the cycle going.

I know in Canada there is a refund scam where they tell you they are your bank offering a refund for some stolen money and then start a recording where you authorize a draft of xxx amount to your account . If you complain they will berate you because everyone knows that draft means do deposit (hint: it doesn't) and now we have to start the whole recording over again so please save any questions for after we are done. They rely on you not knowing bank jargon (well that and most of their victims are senior citizens) so when you complain they will happily show the bank your recording authorizing the whole transaction.

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Thumb Up

Didn't Jeremy Clarkson

think the same thing, and got proved wrong?

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