Blog article
See all stories »

HMRC Warning on Scams is Only Half the Problem

This week, we heard the news that HMRC is warning Self Assessment customers to be on their guard after more than 570,000 scams were reported to HMRC last year.

The news comes as a wake-up call for those who use the Self Assessment service, but it’s also a grisly sign that the true scale of email, text and call scams is likely much larger than any one body is reporting. For instance, in January of this year, HMRC reported a staggering 3,995 phone scams, while the ICO only reported 5,645 nuisance calls and texts from all sources in the same month. These figures suggest the real extent of nuisance calls is much worse than the ICO acknowledges – and hints at the number of phone scams lurking under the surface and going unreported. When we consider scams and nuisance calls from other sources or that might not be reported to anyone, the true numbers are likely in the millions.

It also looks like emails are a huge part of the problem. There were over half a million scams of every kind reported to HMRC last year, but – in the same year – the ICO only reported 125,000 nuisance calls and texts. The difference between the two figures is staggering – and suggests that at least some of the difference is due to a huge number of scam emails.

There needs to be coordinated action to expose the true risks of scams and spam, starting with Government bodies and regulators. However, there’s also a lot that organisations can do to prevent their customers falling victim to scams.

Customers are being bombarded with communication from all angles, and need to be certain that the emails, texts and calls they receive are genuine and trustworthy. Businesses can reassure customers by ensuring that all their communications are consistent in style, and take place over the customer’s chosen channel. If an organisation is continuously contacting a customer via channels they do not want to be contacted through, at random times of the day and with irrelevant and impersonal messages, it becomes all the more difficult for a customer to determine which communications they can trust.


Comments: (0)

Andrew Stevens

Andrew Stevens

Global banking and financial services specialist


Member since

14 Aug 2019



Blog posts


This post is from a series of posts in the group:

Exposing Financial Crime

Criminals are smart, and detection capabilities need to be smarter and always adapting to stay one step ahead. Time to drive out pointless investigations and finding true malignancies hidden from existing rules and machine learning techniques. Join us for conversations and articles on how to refocus financial crimes investigations into actually stopping crime.

See all

Now hiring