MILLIONS of tax credit claimants have been warned to look out for potential scams that could trick them into handing over their cash to fraudsters.
The government will be sending out the remaining annual renewal packs in the post this week, and the timing could leave some customers vulnerable to falling for a hoax.
Anyone who is doing their tax credits renewal who has received a tax or benefits scam email or text could be tricked into thinking it is from HMRC, the government has warned.
Myrtle Lloyd, HMRC’s director general for customer services, said: “We’re urging all of our customers to be really careful if they are contacted out of the blue by someone asking for money or bank details”.
Scammers hope to trick claimants into sharing their personal details or into transferring money for a bogus over payment by pretending to work for HMRC.
Many con artists are likely to mimic government messages to appear authentic.
What are tax credits and how much can I get?
THERE are two types of tax credit – working tax credit and child tax credit – and almost 3million people currently get them, according to HMRC.
While most new claimants can no longer get the benefit – unless they get or qualify for the severe disability premium – as it's been replaced by Universal Credit, it's important those who do get them renew their claim.
Working tax credit is a benefit given to those in work, while child tax credit is for families with kids – whether they're working or not.
Whether you qualify and how much money you receive depends on your income and situation.
The rates vary depending on your personal situation, but you can get up to £3,240 for working tax credit or up to £3,435 per child for child tax credit.
With working tax credit, you need to work a certain number of hours every week, and your income has to fall below a certain level.
The number of hours you're required to work depends on your age, whether you're single or not and whether you have children.
The government has a handy calculator to help work out how much you should receive.
If you have been contacted and have any doubts over the identity of the caller or sender, you should not respond and instead contact HMRC directly.
You can search the government’s website for its scams checklist and report a hoax online.
It could be a scam if the correspondence is unexpected, offers a refund, rebate or grant, asks for personal information like bank details, is threatening or tells you to transfer money.
There are two types of tax credits – working tax and child tax credit.
People on low incomes, are registered as disabled or have children that are dependent on them are eligible to claim them.
Many people have been switched from tax credits to the newer Universal Credit system.
But there are also plenty of people still on the old-style system, who have until July 31 to renew their tax credits.
HMRC is sending out the last if its tax credit renewal packs this week, which explain whether or not you need to renew or update your information.
The government said more than 576,960 bogus tax rebates were identified in the last financial year.
HMRC worked with telecoms firms and the industry watchdog Ofcom to remove more than 3,000 malicious telephone numbers and internet providers to take down more than more than 15,700 web pages operated by scammers.
Latest figures show it responded to 443,033 reports of phone scams in the 12 months to the end of April, up 135% on the previous year.
Consumers have also been warned to watch out for a "fraud wave" of scam texts pretending to be from HMRC, Royal Mail and Hermes.
Meanwhile, Whatsapp users have been told to watch out for fraudsters attempting to take over their accounts.
Statistics published last month showed that one in three Brits had fallen victim to a scam.
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