Readers will be aware that there a multitude of emails circulating on the internet purporting to be from HMRC. In almost all cases these will be some form of scam, attempting to gather personal information from you in exchange for the promise of a tax refund or similar inducement.
HMRC have confirmed, on numerous occasions, that they do not email taxpayers. They may telephone, send you a letter or knock on your door, but they will not send you an email.
However, if someone does turn up at your door, purporting to be from HMRC, how do you know the person is who they say they are? To deal with this HMRC have issued instructions: how to check a caller’s ID.
‘To provide a safeguard against bogus callers in these situations, HMRC has introduced a new Field Force Verification Helpline.
To access the helpline, customers [taxpayers] should follow these simple steps:
• Ask to see the Collector’s photo ID
• Make a note of the ID number on the photo ID
• Call 0300 200 3862
• Provide HMRC with the ID number you’ve noted
The operator will then be able to confirm to you whether or not your caller is genuinely an HMRC Collector.
Every customer visited, from now onwards, will be given a copy of a leaflet showing the rights and responsibilities by the Collector on arrival at the customer’s premises. This also includes the Field Force Verification Helpline number.’