Four men have been arrested as part of a coordinated operation across England into large-scale tax repayment fraud.
More than 50 officers from HM Revenue and Customs’ (HMRC) Fraud Investigation Service executed warrants simultaneously in Harrogate, Torquay, London and Kent on 11 October 2022.
Four residential properties were searched and more than 20 phones seized, as well as several computers and tablets.
The investigation into suspected fraud and money laundering is focused on the use of taxpayers’ identities to commit Self Assessment and VAT repayment fraud against HMRC. It is believed taxpayers were contacted via social media to take part in the scam.
Details of the arrests:
- 24-year-old man from Beckenham, Kent, was arrested for fraud by false representation and money laundering.
- 30-year-old man from Harrogate, Yorkshire, was arrested for fraud by false representation and money laundering.
- 28-year-old man from Torquay was arrested for fraud by false representation and money laundering.
- 25-year-old man from London was arrested for fraud by false representation and money laundering.
Peter Vivian, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:
We believe this to be a calculated criminal attack against HMRC using hijacked personal information obtained from innocent members of the public.
We urge everyone not to share personal details such as bank account details, Government Gateway login credentials or National Insurance numbers.
Your details may be used to obtain fraudulent tax repayments from HMRC and this could leave a debt associated to your tax record which you could be required to repay to HMRC.
If your bank believes your account has been used to facilitate fraud, it could be closed without notice – making it difficult to open new bank accounts or obtain credit.
Fraudsters routinely share hijacked identities with other criminals to commit further fraud and it may consequently be hard to regain control of your identity details.
If something looks too good to be true, then it almost certainly is.
If somebody approaches you, online or in person, asking for your details or those of your business and promising money in return, do not provide any information. Only deal with HMRC directly, or via your nominated tax agent.