HM Revenue and Customs
HMRC warns students of scams
HMRC is warning university students to be wary of potential scams, especially if they have a part-time job and are new to interacting with the department.
University students taking part-time jobs are at increased risk of falling victim to scams, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is warning.
Higher numbers of students going to university this year means more young people may choose to take on part-time work. Being new to interacting with HMRC and unfamiliar with genuine contact from the department could make them vulnerable to scams.
In the past year almost one million people reported scams to HMRC.
Nearly half of all tax scams offer fake tax refunds, which HMRC does not offer by SMS or email. The criminals involved are usually trying to steal money or personal information to sell on to others. HMRC is a familiar brand, which scammers abuse to add credibility to their scams.
Links or files in emails or texts can also download dangerous software onto a computer or phone. This can then gather personal data or lock the recipient’s machine until they pay a ransom.
Between April and May this year, 18 to 24-year olds reported more than 5,000 phone scams to HMRC.
Mike Fell, Head of Cyber Security Operations at HMRC, said:
Most students won’t have paid tax before, and so could easily be duped by scam texts, emails or calls either offering a ‘refund’ or demanding unpaid tax.
Students, who will have had little or no interaction with the tax system might be tricked into clicking on links in such emails or texts.
Our advice is to be wary if you are contacted out of the blue by someone asking for money or personal information. We see high numbers of fraudsters contacting people claiming to be from HMRC. If in doubt, our advice is – do not reply directly to anything suspicious, but contact HMRC through GOV.UK straight away and search GOV.UK for ‘HMRC scams’ .
In the last year (September 2020 to August 2021) HMRC has:
- responded to 998,485 referrals of suspicious contact from the public. Nearly 440,730 of these offered bogus tax rebates
- worked with the telecoms industry and Ofcom to remove 2,020 phone numbers being used to commit HMRC-related phone scams
- responded to 413,527 reports of phone scams in total, an increase of 92% on the previous year. In April last year we received reports of only 425 phone scams. In August 2021 this had risen to 3,269
- reported 12,705 malicious web pages for takedown
- detected 463 COVID-19-related financial scams since March 2020, most by text message
- asked Internet Service Providers to take down 443 COVID-19-related scam web pages.
By June this year, more than 680,000 students had applied to university, and over 900,000 held part time jobs during the 2020 to 2021 academic year.
Latest News from
HM Revenue and Customs
Time to get ready for Self Assessment12/10/2021 15:20:00
The deadline to complete a tax return for the 2020 to 2021 tax year is approaching.
Time is running out for tax credits and Child Benefit customers with Post Office card accounts06/10/2021 15:20:00
HMRC urges tax credits and Child Benefits customers with a Post Office card account to update HMRC with their new bank account details by 30 November 2021.
Working Tax Credit customers must report changes to working hours29/09/2021 10:15:00
HMRC is urging Working Tax Credit customers to check if they need to update their working hours if these have reduced as a result of coronavirus.
Businesses get more time to prepare for digital tax changes23/09/2021 16:05:00
Making Tax Digital for Income Tax will now be introduced in April 2024.
Tax gap remains low at 5.3%16/09/2021 14:25:00
The difference between the the total amount of tax expected to be paid and the total amount of tax paid for the 2019 to 2020 tax year is 5.3%.
New Chief Executive appointed to lead Valuation Office Agency10/09/2021 11:20:00
Jonathan Russell appointed as VOA's Chief Executive.
Thousands of teenagers missing out on Child Trust Fund cash07/09/2021 15:20:00
Teenagers are being urged by HMRC to check if they have a pot of money waiting for them in a Child Trust Fund.
HMRC can help with childcare costs as children head back to school01/09/2021 13:25:00
HMRC is reminding families eligible for Tax-Free Childcare that they can use the scheme to help with their childcare costs.