Self Assessment And Ukraine Crisis Fraud Prompts Warnings
The scammers are always out there ...
Posted by Roger Eddowes on 04/04/2022 @ 8:00AM
Important guidance has been released by both HMRC and the Charity Commission to help taxpayers avoid self-assessment fraudsters, scammers and bogus charities hoping to exploit the crisis in Ukraine ...
If you have received a communication that you suspect is fraudulent, don't rush into action!
Fraudsters and scammers are always praying on the public in times of crisis, and the current situation is no different. The goodwill of people across the United Kingdom has seen massive donations in support of Ukraine, but you cannot always be certain of where the money ends up and whether it's doing some good or just lining someone's pockets.
"And the same goes for the COVID-19 support the Government offered!"
It is estimated that 8.7% of the £60 billion given out in furlough payments during the 2020/21 pandemic was either fraudulently claimed or incorrectly paid. It's not just individuals being ripped off, it's governments as well.
As an accountant, I do play a front-line role in spotting those red flags. None of my own clients acts fraudulently, but I've heard of many cases from peers where someone has. Thankfully, our professional scepticism helps us to spot things that just aren't right.
Whether you are a business or an individual, you need to remain vigilant to strategies that fraudsters use. The Ukraine crisis is a perfect example of this. There are many registered charities offering life-saving services to those caught up in the conflict, though I'd always recommend looking at the Disasters Emergency Committee fundraising efforts if you want to be sure your money reaches those in need.
"That doesn't mean other charities are not using your money correctly!"
I'd always recommend checking the charity's name and registration number at www.gov.uk/checkcharity as they must be registered if their income is £5,000 or more. Be careful when responding to emails or texts. Don't just aimlessly click a link and put in your card details to make a donation, contact them directly or use Google to look at what they do and what sort of reputation they have online.
And finally, look for the Fundraising Badge on their website and other marketing materials. If they have it then they should be working with the Fundraising Regulator so have committed to fundraising in line with the Code of Fundraising Practice.
"And finally, don't forget the self-assessment scammers too!"
There are many scam texts and emails circulating as well as calls offering refunds or demanding unpaid tax (sometimes quite menacingly!) so don't assume some communication has come from HMRC themselves as 220,000 attempted scams were reported to HMRC in the last 12 months.
If you have received a communication supposedly coming from HMRC, don't rush into action and check for scam advice on gov.uk before making any sort of payment.
Until next time ...
ROGER EDDOWES Business Godparent
Would you like to know more?
If anything I've written in this blog post resonates with you and you're worried a fraudster or scammer is trying to rip you off, it may be a great idea to give me a call on 01908 774320 and let's see how I can help you.
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Roger trained at Edward Thomas Peirson & Sons in Market Harborough before working at Hartwell & Co, followed by Chancery, as a partner. He started Essendon Accounts and Tax with Helen Beaumont in 2014 as a general practitioner with a hands-on approach.
Roger loves getting his hands dirty, working with emerging, small-to-medium and family businesses to ensure they receive the best possible accountancy advice. Roger utilises an extensive network of business contacts to leverage the best guidance and practical solutions.
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