A Sheffield man targeted by scammers has warned others not to be fooled by phone calls claiming to be from the taxman.
Tahir Khan, aged 54, from Norton Lees, was shocked to receive a phone call from an 0300 number telling him he had not paid enough tax.
The caller, a man who said he was from HM Revenue and Customs, HMRC, told Mr Khan if he didn’t pay his debts his house and passport would be seized, and he could be thrown in jail.
Mr Khan knew he wasn’t in the red, so phoned the tax office to double check. They confirmed the call was not genuine.
But he is worried others may not be so alert and could lose a lot of money.
“I’m concerned that they are going to scam people and no-one is going to stop them,” said Mr Khan.
“I didn’t give them any money. But I was very distressed. In three hours they called me 30 times.”
Mr Khan said he had reported the scam to the police but did not know how the investigation was going.
An HMRC spokesman said: “We are aware that some people have received telephone calls or home visits from people claiming to be from HMRC.
“These bogus callers may encourage you to provide bank account details or personal information in exchange for ‘tax advice’, or a bogus refund.
“If you cannot verify the identity of the caller we recommend that you do not liaise with them.”
Steve Leach, from South Yorkshire Police’s financial crime investigation unit, added: “Fraudsters and tricksters are often good at what they do and how they do it. The best advice is to be vigilant; ask yourself, are you expecting this phone call? Sometimes people want to give you money, or tell you that you have won something – does it sound too good to be true? Then it probably is.
“If you have any doubt about the validity of a call, ask for their number, wait five minutes and call them back from a different telephone making sure there is a dialling tone. Check the number they give you on the internet or directory enquiries.
“Never give personal or account details to anyone who contacts you unexpectedly. Be suspicious of anyone, even if they claim to be from the HMRC or your bank. Legitimate companies and agencies will understand this and support your actions. You can always ask that they send you the request in writing, and should have your address without having to ask for it.
“In the case you’ve mentioned, the man did exactly the right thing. He was suspicious of the call and did not pass out his personal details. Instead he contacted them back and found out it was a scam. “
For further advice visit www.actionfraud.police.uk or call 0300 123 2040.