Martin Lewis outlines details on the fifth SEISS grant
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HMRC or HM Revenue and Customs as it is formally known, helps millions of people with their tax affairs each year. One of the key actions it has been taking in the last 18 months, however, is overseeing certain grants to help those impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) is one of these, which has helped millions of self-employed people impacted by the pandemic.
The scheme offers those eligible support in the form of grants which cover a percentage of trading profits.
Recently, the fifth grant – scheduled to be the final instalment – of SEISS has been released, with Britons able to apply online.
However, as many flock to claim their payment, individuals have found themselves targeted – namely by bogus correspondence.
Unfortunately, there are scammers who are trying to take advantage of the situation in order to line their own pockets.
The consequences could leave self-employed people in an even more challenging financial situation, so it is important to stay alert.
HMRC took to social media to warn Britons of the potential for scams.
It said: “Scammers are targeting the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.
“GOV.UK is the only place you can make your claim.”
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Recently, one particular scam has circulated as it relates to the SEISS fifth grant.
An email has informed Britons they will need to act, with the subject line: “HMRC SEISS Tax Refund Notification”.
It prompts Britons to visit a fake self-assessment link where they will be required to enter their bank details.
Furthermore, the email asks a person to provide their passport or driving licence in order to submit the so-called “tax refund”.
However, this has been confirmed by HMRC as a scam, namely because SEISS is not a tax refund at all, rather a Government grant.
As a result, Britons should not engage with this kind of correspondence, and delete it as soon as it is received.
HMRC has also released a checklist which can help individuals decide whether the contact they have received is a scam.
The Revenue says it may be a scam if:
- The message is unexpected
- The message offers a refund, tax rebate or grant
- The message asks for personal information like bank details
- The message is threatening
- The message tells a person to transfer money
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As it relates to phone calls, HMRC will never give the reason for a call on a voice message, nor will it leave a voicemail threatening any legal action.
It will not contact Britons through WhatsApp, and will not ask individuals to pay with gift or payment vouchers.
Those who have already shared personal details can report this to the HMRC security team.
Generally, individuals are also encouraged to reach out to their bank as soon as possible to see if any payments can be stopped.
Finally, those who have fallen prey to a scam and who have suffered financial loss should report the matter to Action Fraud.
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