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Dodgy tax calls enrage Thrumster man

By David G Scott

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A THRUMSTER man talked about the distress and anger he felt after having to deal with an aggressive phone scammer.

John Mackay (70) has had two calls from the same number in which he is told to not hang up or the police will immediately be called and a warrant issued for his arrest.

"I'm not so much concerned about me but if an older person got a call like this it could have them in a serious state of panic," Mr Mackay said.

The fraudster called on two separate occasions claiming that an arrest warrant would be issued for him if he hung up the phone and that he must settle an outstanding tax bill immediately.

A scam caller pretending to be from HMRC has targeted people in Caithness and elsewhere.
A scam caller pretending to be from HMRC has targeted people in Caithness and elsewhere.

The scam number is similar to the legitimate HM Revenue and Customs number of 0300 2003300 and according to Mr Mackay the caller claimed to be an Inland Revenue official demanding that an unpaid debt be paid right away.

"He said to me, 'Do not put this phone down, this is the Inland Revenue calling. If you put this phone down there will be police at your house in 15 minutes.' He then said that I owed nine-hundred-odd pounds in tax."

Mr Mackay tried to converse with the caller but was told not to interrupt or the police would be called.

"He was excellent at his job, I have to say. This guy was very aggressive and kept saying, 'Do not interrupt!' and threatening to call the police if I did."

The first call happened two months ago and was followed by another more recent one of a similar nature.

"I've had to deal with mental health issues in the past but am much better now. I fear to think how calls like this could really affect someone who had anxiety problems or a very elderly or vulnerable person."

Mr Mackay said that he was left fuming by the hoax calls and wanted local people to be aware of the matter.

"There is no way the taxman is going to call you like that. It's always going to be through a brown envelope falling through your door that they make contact."

This hoax has been reported throughout the UK in recent weeks with fraudsters even cloning phone numbers used by HM Revenue and Customs so that it appears as if the calls are coming from the trusted authority.

A spokesperson for HMRC said: “HMRC takes security extremely seriously. We are aware that some people have received telephone calls from individuals claiming to be from HMRC. We have a well-known brand, which criminals abuse to add credibility to their scams.

“These scams often involve people receiving a call out of the blue and being told that HMRC is investigating them. If you can’t verify the identity of the caller, we recommend that you do not speak to them.”

Check Gov.uk for information on how to avoid and report scams and recognise genuine HMRC contacts.

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