Protect has been successful in its calls to see HMRC re-open its fraud reporting hotline which has reopened after being closed since the start of the pandemic in March.
We lobbied back in May for HMRC to re-open its fraud hotline, briefed politicians and the APPG (All Party Parliamentary Group) on Whistleblowing on the issue and spoke out to the media of its importance to re-open. We also urged HMRC to give reassurance whistleblowers would not be liable to pay back fraud debts under new Finance Bill powers granted to HMRC.
We know from experience how vital an Advice Line is and being able to discuss concerns with an Adviser and seek reassurance – whistleblowing is not an easy thing to do. Whistleblowers need reassurance they are doing the right thing and that they can, if they wish, remain anonymous.
Protect Chief Executive Liz Gardiner said, “It is great to see that HMRC has re-instated its fraud reporting hotline so whistleblowers can discuss their workplace fraud concerns and seek reassurances they will not be named or targeted themselves.”
Protect’s Advice Line has to date supported 378 furlough fraud concerns and it is one of the biggest issues our Advisers have dealt with in our 27-year history.
An HMRC spokesperson said: “HMRC re-opened its Fraud Hotline telephone service on 3 August and is operating a service between Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.
They added, “However, our online form, hosted on www.gov.uk, remains the quickest way to inform HMRC of suspected fraud. The online service is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week and can be competed entirely anonymously unless the individual wishes to share contact details with us. We’d strongly urge the public to use this confidential online service and to only use the telephony service if they cannot access the online form.”