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News Report Page 6 of 12
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Scam HMRC call reports drop by 97%

REPORTS of scam HMRC phone calls have fallen by 97% over the last 12 months, latest HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) figures show, which display a downward trend in reports overall throughout the past year. Reports of scammers impersonating HMRC in phone calls peaked at 79,477 in March 2021 and fell to just 2,491 in December 2021. The fall in scam call reports to HMRC has also been seen elsewhere with an 92% drop in phishing email reports and a 97% drop in scam text reports over the last year.

These significant results are testament to some of the work of teams across HMRC in tackling these attempts to defraud people, including dedicated customer protection teams and helplines, tools to refer scams, and use of innovative technologies. It also signals that the public is more aware of cyber criminals and the methods they use to trick people, in part thanks to HMRC's awareness raising efforts, meaning fewer members of the public have been the subject of scammers and attempts to steal their money.

All of HMRC's work to protect the public and make people aware of scams and the advice available on:- GOV.UK, has helped move HMRC from third most phished brand globally to outside the top 100.

Mike Fell, HMRC's Head of Cyber Security Operations, said:- "We work incredibly hard to protect the public from these criminals who ruin lives by stealing from people. It's great news that fewer people are receiving and reporting these attempted frauds, but it is still important they continue to report suspicious contact to us. We will continue to do everything we can to protect the public from these cynical attempts to impersonate HMRC to steal from people. Our advice is - never let yourself be rushed. If someone contacts you saying they are from HMRC, wanting you to urgently transfer money or give personal information, be on your guard. HMRC will never ring up threatening arrest, only criminals do that. Contacts like these should set alarm bells ringing, so take your time and check HMRC scams advice on GOV.UK."

Some HMRC themed scams originate abroad. HMRC works closely with national and international law enforcement agencies to combat scams, including collaboration with India as a key international partner in tackling the organised crime groups that run these scams. Work by the Indian authorities last year resulted in multiple arrests and the closure of criminal call Centre operations. In June 2021, 51 people were arrested at 2 call Centres in Delhi, India, that were dedicated to facilitating HMRC scams.

HMRC has a dedicated Customer Protection team working on cyber and phone crime around the clock, closing down scams and sharing intelligence with law enforcement agencies. HMRC also deploys innovative technologies to prevent misleading and malicious communications that impersonate its genuine email channels, from ever reaching the public. Since 2017 these technical controls have allowed HMRC to prevent 500 million bogus emails reaching customers.

More recently, new controls have prevented 90% of the most convincing text messages from reaching the public and joint working with industry partners has prevented the spoofing of most of HMRC's helpline numbers.

In the last year, HMRC has responded to 670,793 referrals of suspicious contact from the public, with 283,157 of these cases offering bogus tax rebates. Others threaten arrest for tax evasion or offer fake financial support.

As part of HMRC's action to combat voice scams, the department has set up a direct referral route on:- GOV.UK where people can report HMRC related telephone phishing.

HMRC also works with the telecoms industry to remove phone numbers being used to commit HMRC related phone scams. In December 2021, 4 phone numbers being used to commit HMRC-related phone scams were removed, which is likely to have prevented hundreds of scam calls being made.

HMRC uses a range of modern methods when communicating with its customers. Criminals will often then try to duplicate those methods to take advantage of people. HMRC is doing everything it can to stay 1 step ahead of the criminals to keep its customers and their information safe.

Search:- 'scams' on:- Gov.UK for information on how to recognise genuine HMRC contact and how to avoid scams. Forward suspicious texts claiming to be from HMRC to:- 60599, and emails to:- Phishing@HMRC.Gov.UK. Report tax scam phone calls on GOV.UK.

Times running out to claim Liverpool City Region Additional Restrictions Grant 3 - Covid19 Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grants

THE UK Government, in England, has provided Sefton Council (and other neighbouring Local Authorities in the Liverpool City Region) with further Additional Restrictions Grant payments (ARG3). This fund is to support businesses severely impacted by the rise of the Omicron variant and which are not eligible for the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant (OHLG).

It will be allocated on a 1st come 1st served basis to those businesses most in need in the Hospitality, Leisure and Accommodation sectors.

Sefton Council's ARG3 allocation is 336,185. The Council anticipates a high demand for this limited ARG3 grant funding, therefore it cannot guarantee that all applications received during the grant window will be approved for a grant payment i.e., the ARG3 grant scheme is not intended to support all businesses and will be targeted at those businesses that have been most severely impacted by the Omicron variant.

In determining the criteria of this grant scheme, the Council has had to balance defraying the small allocation of funding within the shortest period of time and supporting those businesses that can evidence being most impacted by the Omicron variant.

The ARG3 Grant will be CLOSE at 5.00pm, on Monday, 7 February 2022.

Sefton Council said:- "Please note that applications will be assessed on 1st come 1st served basis, we expect demand to be greater than the funding available. Businesses are advised to apply for the grant as soon as practicable, and to ensure that all the evidence is attached to the online grant form. Valid applications will be assessed in the order in which they are received, but please note that any application that does not have the required information or evidence will be rejected. Applicants will also be required to self-certify that they meet the eligibility criteria. As part of the appraisal process, Sefton Council will take into account:- whether the business is based in commercial property or whether it is home based; the level of fixed costs of the business; the number of people employed by the business; whether it is unable to trade online; and the consequent scale of Omicron losses. Sefton Council reserves the right to vary the terms of the ARG3 scheme or suspend or close the scheme with immediate effect, without notice and at any time. "

Eligible businesses must be:-

A Small or Micro business as described under the Companies Act 2006:-

A Small Business must satisfy 2 or more of the following requirements in a year: Turnover not more than 10.2 million; Balance sheet total of not more than 5.1 million; Staff headcount of not more than 50.

A Micro Business must satisfy 2 or more of the following requirements in a year: Turnover, not more than 632,000; Balance sheet total of not more than 316,000; Staff headcount of not more than 10.

Based in the Liverpool City Region.

Employ 1 to 50 staff (a Sole Director, or Self Employed person counts as 1 staff member)

Able to demonstrate that trading activities have been significantly impacted by the Omicron variant and provide information in the free text box to prove this, for example, the impact on business turnover, temporary business closure, loss of regular business income, cancellation and / or loss of contracts / bookings, proof of loss of income.

Trading as at date of application and continues to trade, ie:- continuing to trade with a view to making a profit or surplus (not a dormant company).

A business is excluded if it is:-

Dissolved or about to be dissolved.

A dormant company.

Insolvent or if insolvency action has been instigated against it.

Who will receive funding? 

For the avoidance of doubt, the ARG3 grant is intended for businesses that are ineligible for the Omicron Hospitality and Leisure Grant (OHLG). If you think you are eligible for OHLG you can still apply to Sefton Council's Business Rates Team, on:- Sefton.Gov.UK, looking for Omicron Grant. The ARG3 grant is targeted at businesses that meet the criteria set out below, ie:- those businesses that have been severely impacted by the Omicron variant and that are outside of the business rates system:-

Accommodation (not Airbnb)


Caterers and catering suppliers / equipment.

English language Schools

Entertainment industries eg:- self employed musicians, promoters, artist agents / management companies.

Events industries eg:- marquee, sound and lighting, security company, event entertainment agency, event planner / management, event photographer, event / hospitality staffing agency.

Freelance and mobile businesses, eg:- caterers, events, hair, beauty.


Hospitality businesses.

Leisure businesses.


Personal care.

The travel and tourism sector, eg:- group travel, travel agents and tour operators/facilitators, coach operators, limousine hire.


Wedding related businesses.


Those in the supply chains of the Hospitality and Leisure sectors.

Applications will be assessed in order of date received as long as they are complete. Incomplete applications will be rejected. Applicants will receive an automatic response and a unique reference number (URN) which is confirmation that the application has been submitted and is in the system for assessment. Successful applicants will be notified by email, and payments will be made by BACS (this usually takes 3 working days to arrive in accounts).

The grant levels:-

Home based businesses - 1K

Businesses in commercial property - 3K

For more detailed information please click on the following link:- Sefton.Gov.UK

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