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Sunday Breakfast

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HMRC SCAMS – Tax Payers Beware, Potholes in Staffordshire

Written by on 15 January 2024

With thousands of workers in Staffordshire expected to submit online self-assessment tax returns by 31 January, people are being urged to be wary of scams.

Staffordshire County Council’s Trading Standards service is working with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), who have issued the warning.

Criminals are using scam emails, texts, phone calls and even bogus websites to get their hands on people’s personal and financial details.

The warning comes as HMRC received more than 130,000 reports about tax scams in the year to September 2023.  Almost 60,000 people were approached and offered fake tax rebates by fraudsters.

Typical scam approaches include an offer of a tax rebate, being asked to update your tax details, or a threat of immediate arrest for tax evasion.

Victoria Wilson, Cabinet Member responsible for Trading Standards at Staffordshire County Council, said: “These HMRC related scams are very common at this time of year and it’s important to be vigilant.

“This particular scam is where fraudsters try to dupe people by sending emails, phone calls and texts, which mimic government messages to make them appear authentic.

“While lots of scams can appear genuine, it’s easy to fall for them, so it’s important to stop and check carefully.  And, if it is a scam, please report it to the relevant organisation and Citizens Advice.”

 

How to report tax scam suspicions:

Forward suspicious texts claiming to be sent from HMRC to 60599

Other common scams that people should look out for include energy rebate scams, bogus bank calls and emails asking for personal details, offers for goods and services and doorstep scams like double glazing sales.

People can report online scams to Citizens Advice or call 0808 223 1133.

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Staffordshire County Council is bringing forward its defect repairs to keep the county moving.  Highways crews will be out throughout the winter ensuring the county’s worst potholes are made safe, before performing a longer-lasting repair later in the year when weather conditions are more favourable.

The recent rainfall and freezing temperatures has seen more defects appear across the county so crews will be pulling out all the stops to undertake holding repairs to the worst potholes in the county.

Last year saw a record 16,000 pothole jobs completed by crews up and down the county, with a job usually consisting of two or three potholes.

And, with the county council’s recently announced £50 million investment in roads over the next three years, this means crews will resurface more roads and fix more defects than ever before.