A Runcorn resident received a threatening scam phone call from somebody claiming to be from HMRC. The caller tried to con her out almost £7k when he called on Tuesday at 12.30 pm.

The scammer called twice, the second time the caller left a pre-recorded message stating: “This is Officer Denis Gray of HM Revenue and Customs – The hotline for my division is 01722446299, I repeat 01722446299. Do not disregard this message and call us back.

“If you do not call us back or we do not hear from your solicitor either, then get ready to face the legal consequences. Goodbye and take care.”

The resident thought the call had something to do with her husband’s business and so she called the number and asked to speak to Denis Gray. She was told that the person who was now answering her call had been allocated as her case worker.

He said his name was James Allen, ID No was 52398 and her case file reference was DC2320. He told her that officers had been unable to reach her and so he needed her to confirm her address.

He also informed her that the call was being recorded and that anything she said would be used in a court of law.

‘James Allen’ said that he would read out the Legal Enforcement Action that had already been filed against her by HMRC. He said that he was going to read out the charges, that she must not interrupt him and that he would answer any questions afterwards.

He stated that the reason for his call and the charges was that whilst HMRC was conducting their five-year audit it flagged up that her tax returns for the period 2011-2016 had been miscalculated and that there was an overdue amount of £6,986.

At this point the resident became suspicious, her partner’s business didn’t exist in 2011 and she has worked for the same company for over 20 years.

The resident told him that she thought the call was not genuine. James Allen told her that he could prove who he was, she needed to go online and log on to an address he would give her. At this point the resident terminated the call.

Halton Borough Council’s Executive Board Member for Trading Standards, Cllr Dave Cargill, said: “This is a scam. People have been using the name Dennis Gray with this scam since 2018. Different telephone numbers and officer names will be used from time to time.

“Protect yourself against such scams by remembering: you’ll never get an email, text message or phone call from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) which tells you about a tax rebate or penalty or which asks for your personal or payment information.

“Check HMRC’s guidance on recognising scams if you’re not sure. “

If you receive a suspicious phone call, you can help HMRC’s investigations by emailing with
• your phone number
• the caller’s phone number
• the time and date of the call
• a brief description of the call

If you or somebody you know has been caught out by a scam or fraud please contact one of our specialist officers, Linda or Sue on 0151 511 8785 or 0151 511 8775, who are already working with people in Halton who have lost thousands of pounds to scams.

If you need advice on anything else please contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline or 0808 223 1133

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