In the year since the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, delivered his first Budget to a packed Commons chamber in March 2020, more than 135,000 people in the UK have died from Coronavirus, there have been three national lockdowns, the economy has shrunk by 9.9 per cent and Coronavirus support measures have cost around £280 billion.
Within hours of the Prime Minister announcing a new national lockdown in England, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has issued new warnings after it received reports that fraudsters were attempting to dupe taxpayers by pretending to be the tax authority.
Throughout the last year, criminals attempted to scam businesses and individuals out of money by sending fake HMRC correspondences related to COVID-19.
According to the latest reports, a number of scam text messages are now being sent out, informing people they are entitled to receive a grant from the Government as a result of the latest national lockdown.
One such scam message reads: “HMRC: The third lockdown has been announced. Our records show you have been issued a grant of £240 to help during this period.”
Taxpayers who receive the text are then redirected to a website designed to mimic GOV.UK, which asks them to enter the personal and financial details to receive a grant.
As part of the scam, individuals are asked to provide their card details, information it states is necessary “to confirm and deposit the calculated amount”.
Although the Government has announced £4.6 billion of grant funding for businesses during the latest lockdown, this funding is not applied for online in this way.
In response to the latest reports, HMRC has said it will never send any texts to people regarding a tax refund, rebate or grant. People can, therefore, safely assume such correspondence is a scam.
Instead, those who think they may be eligible for grant funding or other COVID-19 financial support should seek professional advice so that they can make the necessary applications.