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Weekly Fraud Update From West Mercia Police – Economic Crime Unit – 23/01/2024 [#209330739]


A further short reminder as we approach the deadline for Self-Assessment returns. This is the key time to be aware of emails, texts, or even phone calls, claiming to be from HMRC.
Criminals will take advantage of the Self-Assessment deadline to panic you into sharing personal or financial details or even paying bogus “Tax Due”. So please take a moment to think before parting with any information or money. If in doubt, check with HMRC using reliable contact details provided by them.


  • Scammers may text or email people to tell them they are due a Tax Rebate from HMRC; this may also include a link that asks for personal details which can be used for further scams
  • Scammers are also using phone calls to gain people’s details
  • Automated phone calls may be used to say people owe tax, and arrest warrants may be issued by HMRC unless they pay the outstanding tax
  • Fake web pages have also been used which can copy the genuine HMRC website

This also applies to the regular raft of other messages claiming to from other similar Government and official agencies


Two different scams used by criminals have appeared in several local reports this week that you should be aware of.

  1. CELEBRITY SCAMS – Fraudsters may contact you on social media or dating sites claiming to be a star or celebrity of screen, stage or the Pop music scene. They then ask to start a relationship, followed shortly later by requests for money to their own “Charity” or in one case a tempting offer of a holiday away with them – at your cost. In reality, are such celebrities going to contact someone they do not know out of the blue?
  2. SHARING IMAGES – There have been several recent case of victims sharing personal and revealing images to contacts they have met on-line. This has in many cases led to a blackmail situation with the threat of sharing these images with all their contacts if money is not paid. The simple rule is never share an image you would be ashamed to show to your family and friends.

Please feel free to share these messages with any vulnerable friends, relatives or neighbours

Take Five to Stop Fraud

STOP: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.
CHALLENGE: Could it be fake? It’s OK to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
PROTECT: Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud


  • Avoid disclosing security details
  • Emails, Phone Calls and Texts may not be authentic
  • Always make direct contact with any organisation by using a genuine phone number
  • Stop and Challenge any unexpected requests
  • Protect others by reporting Fraud and Scams

If you’ve fallen for a scam, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via actionfraud.police.uk

Scam Text messages can be forwarded to 7726 to help phone providers take early action and block numbers that generate spam on their networks.

Forward Fake Emails received to report@phishing.gov.uk

If you think your bank account or personal banking details have been used fraudulently, then use the short phone number – 159 – to contact the Fraud Prevention Department of most major UK banks