Beware of telephone scamBeware of telephone scam

Published on: 25 Aug 2017

RESIDENTS are being urged to be alert after reports of a telephone scam in which householders are told they owe money for unpaid taxes.

The scam, which has been highlighted by the national fraud and cyber-crime reporting centre Action Fraud, is affecting people in Bristol and South Gloucestershire who have incorrectly been told they owe money to Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

A couple in their 80s from South Gloucestershire contacted police officers after receiving a call in August claiming they owed money and threatening them with arrest if they did not pay. 

The couple contacted police rather than paying any money, but they were worried and distressed by the call.

A woman in her 80s from Bristol was persuaded to pay several thousand pounds after receiving a number of calls at the beginning of August. She was contacted by a man claiming to be from HMRC who instructed her to transfer cash without telling her family or the bank what it was for. 

She then had calls from someone claiming to be a police officer, who said she could be arrested if she did not make further payments.

The scam was finally reported to police when she mentioned the 'tax fines' to a relative. An investigation is underway.

Action Fraud has issued a number of warnings about variations on this scam. To find out more visit 

Police have issued the following advice:

• If you get this sort of unexpected call, end it immediately

• Never phone an unexpected caller back on the number displayed when they call, or any number they give you

• If you are concerned about your tax status, contact HMRC directly using details from, the phone book, or HMRC correspondence you know to be genuine

• Genuine callers will always be happy for you to get advice and support from family, friends or professionals such as bank staff

• If you believe you have been contacted by a fraudster, report it and receive a police crime reference number by calling Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or using their online fraud reporting tool

Visit and to find out more about this and other scams.


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