Whitley Stimpson advises on fraudulent automated telephone message

A client contacted John Skinner this morning to let us know about an automated phone message left on their answerphone overnight advising, “You must phone HM Revenue & Customs before they take legal action.” 

Using 1471, the client established the call was left by someone potentially in London as the number started 0203. However, Googling the number showed that 0203 numbers are commonly used by nuisance callers. There doesn’t appear to be any financial loss involved i.e. there is no premium rate charged if you phone back, but the call was unnerving to the client, and could have led to them giving away personal information, had they returned the call. Google suggests 0203 is used for other nuisance calls too, e.g. demanding an urgent call to the NHS. 

The Government website advises, “Don’t give out private information (such as bank details or passwords), reply to text messages, download attachments or click on any links in emails if you’re not sure they’re genuine.” We would add that HM Revenue & Customs do not collect arrears using automated message systems. 

If you would like further information about avoiding and reporting telephone and internet scams and phishing you can visit the Government website HERE.