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Warning: Misleading websites advertising premium rate telephone numbers

New warning from HMRC about about misleading websites advertising premium rate telephone numbers

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is warning the public about misleading websites advertising premium rate telephone numbers which will connect you to HMRC’s contact centre.

Third party call connection sites often rely on copying the look and feel of HMRC’s official website, fooling the caller into believing they are dealing with HMRC direct, when they are not. Some of the telephone numbers they display can charge up to £3.60 per minute, which can mean a caller facing a very hefty telephone bill. HMRC’s official telephone number is 0300 200 3300 and calls to this number cost the same as to a normal home or business landline.

Donald Wooller, of HMRC’s Cyber Security Team, said: “We are urging people to watch out for these websites as they will charge you considerably more than ringing HMRC direct. Some of them can be quite convincing, so the public needs to be aware that they exist.

“Paid advertising means they can also appear high up in Google search results, thereby tricking a customer into believing they are official HMRC telephone numbers. At HMRC we are taking strong action against these misleading sites by reporting them to their regulator.

“We also report misleading paid advertising to Google and have this removed. The public, however, needs to be vigilant as these websites target not only HMRC’s customers, but also other government departments and many companies like Vodafone, Virgin and Sky. People must ensure they are not unwittingly paying for a service they did not willingly sign up to.”

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