Looking to check your eligibility for self-employment income support? Here’s the ways in which HMRC will contact you and the tell tale signs of scams that every self-employed person should be aware of.
HMRC have released an online link to check your eligibility for self employment income support following COVID-19.
You can check your eligibility and the date from which you can submit a claim here: https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/self-employment-support/enter-unique-taxpayer-reference
HMRC are contacting those eligible and while some contact is legit, there are many scams in operation during this time that you should be aware of.
How do you know it is a scam?
If a text, call or email comes from HMRC then be on high alert. There are many ways in which scammers have been able to cheat people out of large sums of money so being on your guard is vital.
You should be wary if it is a scam if any of the following apply;
- the text, call or email offers any form of financial help
- the text, call or email promises a tax rebate
- the text, call or email asks you to click through to a link and submit personal information
- the text, call or email asks for any bank details or card details to issue a ‘refund’ or ‘grant’
There are legitimate calls, emails and texts from HMRC to the self employed at present but this communication is all around telling you that you’re eligible and the date you can start to submit your claim. Legit HMRC communication will not ask you for personal details or direct you to a link to fill out forms containing personal details.
Some text messages may look legitimate and even say ‘HMRC’ as the sender. This has been common with bank fraud too. The text message comes in from what looks to b e a legitimate source. You click on the attached link and it looks exactly like your online banking or your HMRC login screen but the URL (the web address) will often give the game away that it is a scam.
If you do click through to any links, copy the URL and in a new window do a search with the URL and ‘scam’. You may find stories and examples of other people outlining these web addresses that turned out to be fake. It is VITALLY important that you do not submit personal information into these online login pages. Hackers and scammers are sophisticated and have made mirror images of login pages. When you submit your information, it is collated instantly giving scammers access to your accounts or in this case your HMRC account too.
Be on your guard – especially with calls
Please be on your guard at this time, especially with phone calls as the number of calls and different scams have increased. I know of a few business owners who have outstanding tax or tax payments on a payment plan and they have been contacted numerous times by phone to arrange a debt payment plan – sometimes two to three phone calls per day from mobile numbers. When they’ve googled the number, it has been flagged as a potential scam.
If you are in any doubt whether an email or text is a scam you can send it to HMRC’s phishing department and report any suspicious emails, web addresses or text messages here: https://www.gov.uk/report-suspicious-emails-websites-phishing/report-hmrc-phishing-emails-texts-and-phone-call-scams
If you’re looking for advice on your business finances through the pandemic and beyond, get in touch to arrange a chat in confidence at your convenience.
Helen Crapper is the founder of Insight Finance Solutions. Helen and the team specialise in accountancy advice at every stage of business and help make finances stress free for clients. Helen is also a coach and uses money mindset coaching to help business people remove their personal blocks and limiting beliefs to grow as people while growing their businesses.
To have a chat about your business finances and how Insight Finance Solutions can help you, get in touch.