Phone scam reports have fallen by 86 per cent in the North West over the last year, new regional data from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has revealed.
In the North West, 447 phone scams were reported to HMRC in June this year, compared to 3,264 in June 2021.
People aged between 25 and 34 appear to be most affected by scams in the region, with 118 reporting phone scams in the North West in June.
HMRC has made significant efforts to tackle the problem and protect the public. Scam call reports from across all regions peaked in March 2021 with almost 76,000 reports. This was slashed to just over 5,000 in March this year.
To fight phone scams, HMRC has worked with the telecoms industry and Ofcom to stop HMRC’s helpline numbers from being spoofed by fraudsters, who can no longer appear to be calling from an HMRC number. HMRC also has a dedicated customer protection team working on cyber and phone phishing scams around the clock.
The drop in reported phone scams is a testament to the work of teams across HMRC in tackling fraud. HMRC’s phishing referral tools and innovative technology all play a part in the department’s efforts to combat fraud, which has resulted in fewer people falling victim to and reporting tax scams.
Kelly Paterson, HMRC’s Chief Information and Security Officer, said:
“We work tirelessly to tackle scams and protect hard-working taxpayers from becoming victims of fraud.
“Never let yourself be rushed. If someone contacts you saying that they are from HMRC, wanting you to urgently transfer money or give personal information, be on your guard. HMRC will never ring out of the blue threatening arrest.
HMRC received over 212,500 reports in total of all kinds of scams, by email, text message and phone, over the past year, nationally.
Phone scammers often call people threatening immediate arrest for fictitious tax owed. Sometimes they claim that the victim’s National Insurance number has been used in a fraud or offer a fake tax rebate as a way of stealing personal and banking information.
In addition to warning the public about phishing scams, HMRC urges people never to share their HMRC login details. Criminals using the logins could steal from the customer or make a fraudulent claim in their name.