Doctors warned about scammers impersonating the taxman

By Robin Stride

High-earning doctors are being warned to be on the alert for scams aimed at hi-jacking tax payments they thought they were paying to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Specialist medical accountants today advised private consultants and GPs to watch out in the run-up to the 31 January deadline for submitting self-assessment tax returns.

As the date draws closer, there is often a rise in scams from fraudsters impersonating HMRC. With tactics such as threatening hefty penalties or even prison sentences, these scams can often be extremely convincing and panic people into action.

Alec James, a partner with Sandison Easson, said: ‘As high net-worth individuals, doctors can often be a target for such scams and having an awareness of fraudsters’ tactics is really important.’

He urged Independent Practitioner Today readers to protect themselves by considering the below advice:

Electronic communication from HMRC will always come from their secure portal, any other forms of communication from HMRC would not contain any personal information such as refunds or payments due;

Be wary of any communications which include extreme consequences for lack of action;

Check the actual email address on any emails received. Fraudsters will often change their display name to be related to HMRC;

Check for spelling mistakes in any correspondence;

Be extremely wary of unexpected phone calls. If in doubt, phone HMRC back by phone on one of its listed phone numbers;

If it seems either too good to be true or there is an extreme threat, it could be a scam;

If in doubt, you should always check with your accountant or HMRC directly. You should also report any potential scams to HMRC.

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