Don’t fall victim to HMRC scammers claiming you owe tax

Bogus callers and rogue traders have been reported in Suffolk Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Bogus callers and rogue traders have been reported in Suffolk Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Evening News � 2007

Tax scammers and rogue traders have been reportedly preying on people over the phone and on the doorstep in Suffolk.

Suffolk Trading Standards has issued a warning a string of complaints about scammers and salesman using pressure tactics.

Scammers claiming to be from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the police are threatening arrest if people fail to settle unpaid tax bills.

But a spokesman from HMRC said: "The HMRC will only ever call you asking for payment on a debt that you are already aware of, either having received a letter about it, or after you've told us you owe some tax, for example through a self-assessment return."

If in doubt, people are advised to put the phone down, make sure the line is clear and contact the HMRC using one of the numbers or online services on the website.

Trading Standards has also received reports of individuals calling at Suffolk properties and telling residents their homes do not meet building regulations and require additional insulation.

The traders go on to advise the householder they may be eligible for a grant, or in some cases that if the property does not meet building regulations, they will be subject to higher council tax.

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Officials advise residents to refrain from buying on the doorstep and say anyone entering into a contract for insulation can cancel within 14 days by writing to the company.

A spokesman said: "Any trader that puts you under pressure by suggesting you have to make a decision there and then, or that the 'special price' is only available for a limited period in order to make you sign up, may be committing a criminal offence.

"Doorstep traders are trained in sales techniques and can be very persuasive. Be very wary of signing anything, as you may give up your rights to cancel.

"Our advice is to always say 'no thank you, please leave' and then immediately close the door. If the trader won't go away, tell them that you will call Suffolk Trading Standards. If you feel under real threat or in danger, you should contact Suffolk police."

The Citizens Advice consumer service, on 03454 040506, can advise people on their rights and refer any criminal activity to Trading Standards.

Forward details of suspicious calls and emails claiming to be from HMRC to this address, and texts to 60599. Or contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via their website.

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