HMRC technology halts phone scammers

4 Jun 19

Technology developed by HMRC has reversed a growing trend of phone scamming, the government has said.  

HMRC phone scams – where fraudsters pretend to be calling from the HMRC - have exploded in recent years going from 407 cases in 2016-17 to 7,778 between 2017 and 2018. A huge 104,774 were reported between 2018 and 2019.

The HMRC has said this week new technology, developed by the department in coordination with Ofcom and the telecommunications industry, has stemmed this rise. Since the controls were introduced in April 2019 there have been no reported cases of phone scams.

Financial secretary to the Treasury Jesse Norman said: “This is a huge step forward in the fight against phone fraud.  

“HMRC’s new controls will help protect thousands of hardworking taxpayers and their families form these heartless criminals.

“Vigilance will always be important but this is a significant blow to the phone cheats.”

The technology has allowed the HMRC to block the scammers using numbers beginning with ‘0300’ and other numbers will now be easier to spot.

In the last 10 months HMRC has requested the removal of over 1,050 numbers from being used by scammers.

Head of national reporting centre Action Fraud Pauline Smith said: “Phone calls are one of the top ways for fraudsters to make contact with their victims.

“It is encouraging to see that these newly developed controls by HMRC have already achieved a reduction in the number of calls spoofing genuine HMRC numbers.”

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