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So is this yet another scam, or is it genuine? - dorsetgirl
April 16th, 2013
08:52 pm
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So is this yet another scam, or is it genuine?
Just got a call from someone claiming to be HMRC. At 8:15pm.

Obviously I was very surprised by this, and rather suspicious. He said we'd have to go through some security questions, and he asked me for my full name, which I gave, but when he asked me for my date of birth I asked him to tell me who he was again.

He said it was an experiment they were doing, to phone people instead of writing, to try to get them to renew their Tax Credits earlier. (I always end up doing ours at the end of January). I explained that OH is self-employed so we always have to wait for the figures to come back from the accountant. I also said that I get an endless stream of calls trying to sell me things, and that I hadn't even realised that HMRC phoned people. He then said - perfectly pleasantly - that if I'm not comfortable about answering security questions he can write instead, so I said I thought that would be preferable.

So now I'm worried: If this is genuine, why have they picked me? Do they have some reason to believe that our claim needs looking into in more depth? I don't think so, but who knows what they think?

Also, the name he gave me does exist as a person who works for HMRC - a person of that name has written various papers on Pensions provision. But then he would presumably be too senior to be phoning random claimants in the evening?

I don't need this. I have the oldest coming up to his 'A' levels, and his project documentation is due in in two weeks, which he needs help with interpreting what they're asking for; I have to do his Student Finance application in the next week or two, and I have to decided which year's income to put in (standard is 2011/12, ie the one I declared at the end of January) because it depends on whether you expect your income to go down, which ours will once the oldest leaves full-time (non-higher) education (we'll lost the child benefit and his portion of the tax credits). I have to do the research for his university accommodation because apparently there's a box about requirements due to disability. I think he should put in that he really needs a single room, but I'm worried that some idiot is going to think that a student with social issues would benefit from sharing a room.

I have the middle one coming up to his GCSEs, and he's worried about achieving the 'B' in English which he needs to get into the Sixth Form.

I have the youngest coming up to end-of-year (really!) exams in two weeks and while there's a case for saying they don't seem that important by comparison, they are important to him and I must take them seriously.

I have the Department of Work & Pensions on my back because when we did the Probate last year for OH's elderly auntie, it turns out that (a) she had a lot more cash than they would expect of someone on Pensions Credit and (b) she failed to declare one of her bank accounts so she had slightly more money than they thought she did when they decided what to pay her. So we could be in for paying back thousands. It's all sitting in a separate administrator's bank account but even so, that's money we hoped to have available for supporting three boys through university.

So I really don't need to be worrying about answering the phone in case it's HMRC trying to cut the benefits bill by asking people trick questions.

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(4 comments | Leave a comment)

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Date:April 16th, 2013 08:18 pm (UTC)
I never give out personal information to random callers or e-mailers, even if I think they might be genuine. If they are genuine, they surely can't object to a polite refusal. It does seem a bit pointless, though, because if you're not expecting them to call you won't have the relevant information to hand, so it's a waste of everyone's time.

If it's an experimental thing I expect they're working their way through a randomly generated sample, rather than picking specific people.

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Date:April 16th, 2013 11:24 pm (UTC)
I never give out personal information ...even if I think they might be genuine.

I agree. Once in a while I'm late paying my credit card - admin not being my strong point - and I get a blizzard of phone calls about it. I now recognise the (I think) Filipino accent by about the second word so I know exactly who they are, but I still refuse to answer their questions about my date of birth etc.

The more I think about this call, the more I'm convinced that he said "Her Majesty's Customs and Revenue", and there was just something a little too careful about how he said it. It didn't trip off the tongue automatically. Maybe I'll call the (so-called) Helpline tomorrow and see if they know anything about it.
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Date:April 16th, 2013 09:20 pm (UTC)
If it's a genuine call from HMRC then they're jumping the gun a bit. I don't even have mine and my husband's P60s for 2012/13 yet and I can't renew our claim until I do. Also, you need all your taxable income details to hand when renewing and who keeps that stuff by the phone? No, I think it's a scam and you did the right thing in not giving out any more information.

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Date:April 16th, 2013 11:17 pm (UTC)
I don't even have mine and my husband's P60s for 2012/13 yet

That's an interesting point; surely HMRC would know the timings on those?

Mind you, if it's a choice between a scam and being singled out for personal attention by HMRC then I think I'll take the scam!
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