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HMRC has warned that more and more scammers are using landline phone calls to con people and businesses out of money.

HM Revenue and Customs said that in the 6 months to January 2019 it received 60,000 reports of phone scams – up 360% compared with the previous six months.

In the calls, con men and woman pretend to be calling as tax officials, threatening legal action or jail if immediate payment is not made over the phone there and then.  They then provide their own account details for you to transfer the payments into, before disappearing with your cash.

HMRC do not make these kind of calls without also sending supporting paperwork so if you are at all suspicious then hang up and call the published HMRC telephone numbers to check its validity.

In the past year they have worked with  Ofcom to shut down nearly 450 lines being used by scammers in the past year alone.

The crackdown on text and email phishing scams has left fraudsters to pursue the old school cold calling methods to try to con people out of money.

And HMRC said it would only ever call and ask for a payment for a debt that the person was already aware of – for example by previously having received a letter – or if the person had told it they owed some tax or submitted a self-assessment return.

Be careful and check with HMRC through their official channels if you are in any doubt before making payment – if it its genuinely HMRC calling they won’t mind if you want to hang up and check – but fraudsters will!