How tax expert turned detective

Tax expert Owen Kyffin, who is a director of Whitley Stimpson, one of the largest independent accountancy practices in the area, turned “detective” to investigate a cyber-fraud attempt against one of his clients – and was able to save him from a potential scam.

He said: “I received a call from one of my clients who had a message on his answerphone which said the revenue and customs authorities were trying to reach him to tell him they were filing a law suit against him and urging him to speak to his case officer by returning the call.

“I listened to the recording and as someone who speaks to the Revenue and Customs people every day it didn’t seem right to me.  I then rang HMRC and confirmed that neither my client nor his wife had anything outstanding with them.

“I then sent some written advice from a website and reassured him that everything was in order and that the phone call was a scam. 

“Unfortunately this sort of thing is becoming more common.  Cyber thieves are using false phone messages and emails to con business people.  The Revenue and Customs service do sometimes phone their clients but they never ask for personal details.  There are several helpful websites which give advice on fraud of all kinds and cyber-fraud in particular but I would suggest that if business people are still in doubt they can always ring their accountant.

“We are certainly in the business of helping our clients in any way we can.”

HMRC has released guidance on genuine correspondence from them and how to spot attempts at fraud on their website and further guidance is available on www.actionfraud.police.uk or www.getsafeonline.org and www.cyberstreetwise.com/cyberessentials

Owen Kyffin can be contacted at Whitley Stimpson, which has offices in Banbury, Bicester, Witney and High Wycombe, on 01295 220914 or owenK@whitleystimpson.co.uk