Security questions

I had a phone call from "HMRC" this morning. They asked me to answer security questions I refused on the grounds that I don't believe in giving out security information to people phoning me. I asked whether they could provide security answers but they couldn't. They asked me to phone HMRC. I said they could write to me. They said they couldn't because they were a call centre. I wasn't convinced that was a good enough reason. HMRC isn't a "call centre" - it shouldn't be difficult to pass the request to a "write centre"! I was accused of being irresponsible for not wanting to deal with my client's issues. When is this irresponsible behaviour by HMRC going to be dealt with? I can't believe that the people who have the authority to stop this behaviour are not aware of what is happening.

Comments

Security questions

accountright | | Permalink

If HMRC telephone me, I always ask them to provide my agent codes and random information about me.  seems to work

Polly

ShirleyM's picture

lol

ShirleyM | | Permalink

I love the idea of a 'write centre' :)

I agree though Peter. They take the mick, demanding we answer security questions while refusing to do the same themselves. If they refuse to answer questions themselves we also tell them to write to us. Many of these callers from 'HMRC' are not HMRC at all, they are third party debt collectors who don't have access to all the data.

johnjenkins's picture

I would not

johnjenkins | | Permalink

give any security answers on the phone unless I was doing the phoning. HMRC shouldn't even have "call centres".

I also like the idea of a "write centre".

Security Questions

Peter Tucker | | Permalink

I have to side with petersaxton on this matter, since HMRC Call Centers are also contacting ordinary Individuals by phone and insisting on asking "security questions". The ordinary unrepresented person may not have the background to determine the good caller from the bad caller.

It is therefore imperative that this systemic behavior is at least challenged if not changed.

Replacing the word Taxpayer with Customer seems to have caused Civil Servants to morph into Government Agents ?

5 calls this week!

Briar | | Permalink

I have had 5 calls this week from "HMRC" (4 were all at exactly the same time - one I answered but when finished noted that there were 3 others on "callminder"). They have asked to speak with someone who deals with the PAYE for a particular company (so I knew what they would be wanting). Then they went into their security questions which were not difficult to answer and caused me no concern - my name, my address, position in the company (if not registered, just tell them you are the Company Secretary!), and phone number (which they have just dialled!!!). They were all chasing PAYE payments. I cannot be bothered filing nil payslips for one-man companies where no PAYE is owing, so pointed out that nothing was owing (which they accepted). If you are nice to them, they agree to file a nil payment and also change the status of the PAYE to scheme to an "annual" one so as to prevent further calls.

OK, if HMRC were asking for real "security" questions (e.g. reference numbers, bank account details), I would rebound it on them. But, only basic data seems to satisfy them.

weaversmiths's picture

Tread carefully

weaversmiths | | Permalink

When I was running an allocation in a Local Tax office there were many telephone calls where certain agencies/individuals  attempted to get information on taxpayers.  It is a well known fact within the "intelligence" system that if you make 6 telephone calls pretending to be a certain taxpayer/district  you can get all the personal tax details of that taxpayer because to answer a call from a taxpayer they have to 'give a little information to get a little information'.  The favourite was "This is such and such tax district, I am on the counter and our TI is down.  Can you look up the TP on your TI?"  Or a supposed TP would say" I've lost my numbers can you let me have my reference".  Of course armed with that information they would ring another Tax office and give the reference.  I used to have great fun taunting a man pretending to be a woman or vice versa. People can get very abusive when they are found out.  Livened the day up.  I suspect generally that it was people/clerks  in a divorce action sneakily trying to get information on income.

TheAncientOne

Data Protection Act

leon0001 | | Permalink

Just point out that you would like to help but are constrained by the provisions of the Data Protection Act. Explain that the current level of penalties for unlawful leaking of personal data is of the order of £50,000 and upwards.

Agent code is usually a good security question. I suppose you could always ask for the first line of their office address and its postcode - if they can't provide it, say that they have failed the security check!

Old Greying Accountant's picture

Do it online ...

Old Greying Acc... | | Permalink

Briar wrote:

 I cannot be bothered filing nil payslips for one-man companies where no PAYE is owing, so pointed out that nothing was owing (which they accepted). If you are nice to them, they agree to file a nil payment and also change the status of the PAYE to scheme to an "annual" one so as to prevent further calls.

... much easier, you can do it quarterly - less effort than dealing with the above

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/payinghmrc/paye-nil.htm 

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