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SALLY SORTS IT: Tax return fraudster used my name to swindle £6,305

Twisted claim: Reader asked to pay £6,305 pack fraudster managed to scam HMRC with false tax return

A fraudster impersonated me and used my details to claim money through a false tax return.

But HM Revenue & Customs are demanding that I return the £6,305 the impostor received.

I’m having trouble solving the problem. This causes distress and sleepless nights.

Anon.

Twisted claim: Reader asked to pay £6,305 pack fraudster managed to scam HMRC with false tax return

Twisted claim: Reader asked to pay £6,305 pack fraudster managed to scam HMRC with false tax return

As the January 31 online deadline for filing self-assessment tax returns approaches, your case is timely and serves as a warning to others to be vigilant of mysterious events affecting their returns. of income.

The issue first came to your attention in August 2022 when your accountant went to submit your tax return. To his surprise, he was told that one had already been filed.

Someone has submitted forms under your name through the HRMC online portal. This, you believe, should have alerted the authorities immediately because for the past decade you have used this reputable accounting firm to file your return.

Your accountant tried to resolve the issue with the taxman but got nothing other than a copy of the fraudulent statement.

Upon reviewing it, you were shocked to find that the documents contained most of the correct information, including your address, date of birth, national insurance number and unique tax reference number, as well as details of your military pension and your P11D (the form employers send to the IRS outlining the dollar value of all taxable work-related expenses and benefits received that are not included in an employee’s pay).

The impostor had claimed a total of £6,305 in P11D expenses for travel, gifts and expenses to professional bodies. You never claimed any of these things.

But the scammer had failed to claim the overseas tax relief, which you have been doing every year for eight years by working and paying taxes overseas. You still claimed a sum of around £12,000. You think that should have been a second red flag.

The third warning sign was that the tax refund was paid into an account with Tide Bank, a bank you had never heard of. The account wasn’t even in your name. When you contacted Tide, the nickname used was not revealed.

The bogus return had also been submitted to an account opened on the HMRC website using a Hotmail email address with your name but the first letter deleted. You have never used Hotmail.

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When the fraud was reported in September, your genuine account was then unlocked to allow your accountant to submit the correct statement. But he didn’t want to do that until the case was fully resolved.

You soon received a request from the tax authorities to return the £6,305, so the problem has not gone away.

You were worried your reputation had been tarnished by this scammer and you wanted your name cleared as quickly as possible and you could file your correct tax return – and get the real tax refund you were owed.

I asked the IRS to investigate why it took so long to confirm that fraud had taken place on your account. A few weeks passed. But on January 3, a resolution was confirmed.

A spokesperson said: “We have closed the fraudulent account, corrected their records and apologized to them for the time it took to resolve this issue.”

Finally, you can breathe a sigh of relief and have your real papers deposited. A new unique tax number has been assigned to you.

I was surprised that a scammer could go that far. However, figures from the Inland Revenue suggest that this type of fraud is not uncommon.

Its annual report says there has been a “significant increase in criminal attacks on the self-assessment reimbursement system” in 2020-21.

He says he has also stepped up his fight to limit such incidents, preventing the theft of £1.5billion during this period.

You didn’t know how your details were compromised and the IRS didn’t know either.

It indicates that criminals use many methods to obtain personal information about individuals, including theft; buy it from other criminals; computer viruses that steal data, including malware; and “phishing” emails that trick people into giving up confidential information.

At this time of the year in particular, taxpayers must remain vigilant. Scammers are about to take advantage of this by sending text messages or emails claiming to be from HMRC. These often promise tax refunds or threaten to be arrested if tax bills are not paid.

Messages may also claim that the victim’s national insurance number has been used fraudulently, prompting people to get in touch and inadvertently give more personal details.

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The taxman would never send such messages. Those who declare a first self-assessment are particularly at risk because they are less likely to know the tricks of the trade.

Forward suspicious text messages to 60599 and emails to phishing@hmrc.gov.uk. Report tax scam phone calls to gov.uk.

Why can’t I get a PIN-only Mastercard

I requested a new Mastercard debit card from Virgin Money. I specifically asked if the new card could be the same as the one it replaced, i.e. a pin code card rather than a contactless card.

The call handler said it would be the same. But when it arrived, it was a contactless version. I complained but Virgin said all of their Mastercard offers are now contactless.

I found this strange due to what I was told on the phone and the fact that my wife and I have Mastercard offers with PIN only from Santander.

DG, Musselburgh.

Contactless cards are designed for convenience so that transactions are quick for customers, retailers and banks.

Reducing the need to fumble around with cards and PINs at payment terminals is certainly appealing. Figures from UK Finance show that a third of all payments made last year were contactless.

However, not everyone is enthusiastic. A good friend had his contactless card snatched from his coat pocket while in a pub and the thief went on a rampage with it at many local retailers. Fortunately, the fraudulent expenses were reimbursed.

But he felt contactless gave criminals a good reason to pickpocket in the first place, even more so after contactless limits were raised from £45 to £100 in October 2021.

Banks defend the system saying that the PIN is required from time to time so that fraudulent transactions, if they occur, are nipped in the bud.

However, like my friend, you are worried that the contactless card will be lost or stolen and then used indiscriminately without your PIN code.

You mentioned Santander in your letter, which I found allows its Mastercard (but not Visa) customers to “block contactless” if they wish. It also allows cardholders to change the contactless limit to any multiple of £5 up to the standard limit of £100.

I have asked Virgin to reconsider your case and allow you to deactivate the contactless feature of your card.

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Virgin responded by saying it was industry standard to provide contactless. But in some circumstances, once he has reviewed the background of a request, he may consider disabling the feature.

With this in mind, someone will contact you to arrange for the deactivation of the contactless function of your card.

To the point

In August I switched my bank account from Nationwide to Santander to take advantage of the £175 switching bonus.

The transfer was successful, but I was told that because I didn’t have a cell phone, I wasn’t eligible for the bonus.

KG, Evesham, Worcestershire.

Santander sent you £175 as a token of goodwill and arranged a meeting with your local branch manager to discuss your banking needs.

***

British Gas remotely plugged my vulnerable aunt into a prepayment meter.

The company says it has reverted to direct debit on their end, but it still appears as prepayment.

There is no longer a way to refuel and its gas supply has been cut off

AS, by e-mail

British Gas apologized and offered £100 in compensation.

It indicates that there was a transmission problem, so the meter change did not complete and it should have completed the exchange much sooner.

***

I bought an Indesit washing machine from Currys 20 years ago and have been paying insurance ever since.

The machine recently broke down and I can’t reach customer service, despite sending messages online and by post.

ES, Stratford-upon-Avon.

Currys called you to discuss the problem and you have since received a new machine from Indesit.

  • Write to Sally Hamilton at Sally Sorts It, Money Mail, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT or email sally@dailymail.co.uk – include phone number, address and a note addressed to the offending organization giving him permission to speak to Sally Hamilton. Please do not send original documents as we cannot take responsibility for them. No legal responsibility can be accepted by the Daily Mail for the answers given.

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