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Fake HMRC websites are directing users to £36 per call premium lines

Jonathan Green

Fraudsters have been creating replica versions of HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) website and directing the public to call premium rate numbers advertised on them. These numbers acted as call forwarders which would then connect callers to HMRC – but at a significant cost.  HMRC acted to have the websites taken down, successfully challenging the ownership of the sites.  Analysis has shown that had HMRC not taken this action the public would have lost over £2.4 million. HMRC said that specific tactics and costs on each website varied, but the maximum cost of a call was £3.60 a minute, capped at £36 per call.  HMRC’s own 0300 numbers are mostly free or charged at the national landline rate. 

This announcement from HMRC comes at the start of Scams Awareness Month organised by Citizens Advice which is running throughout June. 

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