HM Revenue and Customs is warning that university students taking on part-time jobs are at increased risk of falling for scams due to their inexperience with the tax system.
According to latest figures, between April and May this year, more than 5,000 phone scams were reported to HMRC by 18 to 24-year-olds.
With half of all tax scams offering fake tax refunds, HMRC is reminding people that they do not offer this service via SMS or email. It’s also worth noting that links or files in emails or texts can download dangerous software onto a computer or phone, which can gather personal data or lock the recipient’s machine until they pay a ransom.
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’.”
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