HMRC has stopped messages reaching thousands of taxpayers, with 90 per cent of such messages now being stopped before they reach the phones.

The tax authority has been working to raise awareness about tax scams, and this milestone comes during the Take Five to Stop Fraud Week.

In recent years, fraudsters have been targeting taxpayers with scam text messages which make false claims such as the taxpayer being eligible for a tax rebate. The messages usually contain links to websites where the taxpayer is encouraged to provide their personal information, or unknowingly download malware. Such activities can lead to identity theft and the theft of personal savings.
HMRC has said that it would never contact any taxpayer who was due a tax rebate by email or text message.

These scams have increased in volume in recent years. It has been shown that individuals are nine times more likely to be fooled by a text message scam than by email because the texts appear more legitimate, as they often have HMRC displayed as the sender rather than a phone number.

With the number of scams rising, HMRC has joined hands with its private and public partners to tackle the problem from April 2017. New technology has been employed to identify fraudulent texts that have tags suggesting they are from HMRC. Once identified, the texts can be stopped before they reach their intended recipient.

This action has led to a 90 per cent reduction in such texts. HMRC has also had success in removing malicious websites and fraudulent emails.