Have you received a Debt Enforcement ADT letter recently? If one of their letters has made it way into your lap, you need to hear this.

Don’t rely on social media stories about Debt Enforcement ADT letters as some viral posts are spreading misinformation.

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It’s not your fault. Complaints to the Financial Ombudsman have risen this year from 830 to 2,006, so it’s safe to say that you’re not alone.

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What Is a Debt Enforcement ADT Letter?

A Debt Enforcement ADT letter is a debt collection letter sent from a company on behalf of HM Revenue and Customs relating to old unpaid debts. These letters are known as a Letter Before Action (LBA), a type of letter that requests compliance through payment or further action will be taken.

But there is confusion about whether Debt Enforcement ADT is a scam or not. There are many signs and reports that Debt Enforcement ADT do not act on behalf of HM Revenue and Customs. So, what is the true story?

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Signs that Debt Enforcement ADT Is a Scam

We hear of so many debt collection agency scams and ways to spot them. And if you have read these types of articles before, there will be a few red flags when reading a letter from Debt Enforcement ADT. 

First of all, these letters don’t tend to address you by your name. Instead, they simply give generic greetings like ‘Sir’ or ‘Madam’. For a long time, this went against HM Revenue and Custom’s contact guidance standards.

But there is another big reason why Debt Enforcement ADT letters may be taken as scam attempts. Recently, a Facebook user posted an image of his debt letter from Debt Enforcement ADT to tell the world it was a scam. He backed up his claim by stating he spoke with HMRC and they too said it was a scam.

But, guess what! Debt Enforcement ADT debt letters from HMRC are NOT a scam!

Debt Enforcement ADT Letters Are Genuine Debt Notifications

Despite all the evidence pointing to Debt Enforcement ADT being a scam, they are not. HMRC uses several collection agencies to help them recover unpaid monies, and Debt Enforcement ADT is one of them.

Debt Enforcement ADT go after the really old HMRC debts people owe, which adds to the confusion. Many people will not remember or realise that these debts exist – and that makes recipients believe it is a scam even more.

The name of the small department within HMRC that Debt Enforcement ADT recovers money for is known as the Aged Debt Team.

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How Has HMRC Responded?

HM Revenue and Customs has been alerted of the viral social media post warning people against Debt Enforcement ADT letter, and the misinformation from one of their staff that the letter is not genuine.

As a result, HMRC has issued a short statement on their website to state that recipients of Debt Enforcement ADT debt letters should not ignore them. However, they are concerned that real scammers may latch onto the confusion and start pretending to be Debt Enforcement ADT.

Thus, if you do receive communications from Debt Enforcement ADT, you should ask HMRC if the letter is genuine by calling them directly.

Why Might You Have Old HMRC Debts?

Not very many people end up with old HMRC debts simply because HMRC are good at noticing when tax or VAT is not paid or when tax credits are overpaid. It is the latter which may go under the radar longer.

What to Do If You Receive a Debt Enforcement ADT Letter

If you have received a letter from Debt Enforcement ADT, do not ignore it. As we have established above, these letters are likely to be genuine. We recommend checking with HMRC first.


How to Contact HMRC

You can call HMRC to discuss any debt letters you have received on 0300 200 3300. They are open from 8am to 8pm between Monday and Friday. And they are also open from 8am to 4pm on Saturdays. 

If you want to report suspicious emails or calls, there are ways to do this here.

Will HMRC Debts Effect My Credit File?

The good news is that your HMRC debts don’t get added to your credit file. A credit file or credit history stores information about your debts when credit has been taken out. HMRC doesn’t give residents credit, and therefore, they do not report to credit file agencies about any debts you have.

This is good news if you plan on applying for a loan, credit card or mortgage. 

How to Spot Fake Debt Letters

We have put together some tips and advice to spot debt collector scams:

  1. Do they use your name? Scammers will tend to use generic greetings instead of your name.
  2. Do they provide a phone number? Sometimes they will ask for payment to a bank without having legitimate contact details.
  3. Asking you to pay via a transfer is a huge red flag
  4. Are there spelling mistakes? A true sign of an unprofessional company
  5. Do they provide details about the debt you owe? They should be able to tell you everything AND they must provide evidence of the debt.
  6. Do they threaten jail time? This is not possible and an illegal threat. Even if they are genuine you should report this behaviour to the Ombudsman. 
  7. The company doesn’t appear on your credit file
  8. There are no online company reviews or the company is not registered on Companies House

Use these eight tips to work out if the collection agency is a scam. And ask debt charities for help if you are still unsure. 

Learn More with MoneyNerd! 

If you have received another type of debt letter from another agency, there is a good chance we will have discussed what to do next.

Head on over to MoneyNerd to learn more about debt letters and what your next move should be.

About the author

Scott Nelson

Scott Nelson is a financial services expert, with over 10 years’ experience in the industry, including 6 years in FCA regulated companies. Read more
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