Warning over 'HMRC lockdown tax refund' scams

A close-up image of someone texting on a smartphone

Suffolk Trading Standards is warning of phone scams which promise non-existent Covid-19 grants and HMRC refunds - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Beware of scam text messages offering you a "third lockdown" HMRC grant or saying you are entitled to a tax rebate.

Suffolk Trading Standards has sent out warnings via its Twitter and Facebook pages, urging people to be alert and avoid being taken in.

One message highlighted by Trading Standards, claiming to be from HMRC, says: "The third lockdown has been announced, we have been issued a grant of £240 to help during this period."

Another claims a tax rebate of £230 has been issued due to lockdown, while a third says a pending tax rebate is due.

Sadly though, these messages are not offering genuine cash help, but are cruel cons. They come after a recent warning of bogus  text messages claiming to offer coronavirus vaccinations.

A Suffolk County Council Trading Standards spokesperson said: "Beware of these fake HMRC text messages that state you are entitled to a grant, a tax refund or a rebate due to the current lockdown.

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"These texts have been sent by criminals who have created fake websites. The websites that the text links to has been created to look similar to the government website, with the same branding, layout and font choices.

"The fake website informs users that they will need to provide their card details in order to claim the grant or refund. Do not click on the link."

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The spokesman added, if you are concerned you may have provided scammers with your financial details, you are advised to contact your bank immediately.

You should also forward fake text messages, including the phone number or company name, to 7726. This is free to do and means your phone provider can investigate the sender.

To report scams to Suffolk Trading Standards,  call Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 2231133.

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