Fraudulent use of W-8BEN forms

Have you received a letter from Scottish Widows asking you to complete and return a W-8BEN form?

A W-8BEN form is a US Treasury form which can be used, depending on your circumstances, to ensure your investments are exempt from US taxation.

But beware! Fraudsters are issuing these forms in an attempt to extract personal information from their victims, which they can then use to perpetrate identity fraud. They send out a blank W-8BEN form and ask for this to be filled in and returned to a UK fax number that they provide.

The criminals have been targeting residents of South Africa in particular.

If you receive an instruction seemingly from Scottish Widows, asking you to complete and return a W-8BEN form, along with a copy of your passport, please contact Scottish Widows immediately. DON’T complete and return the W-8BEN form, or you may leave yourself at risk of identity fraud.

For further information on how to protect yourself from identity fraud, go to the Home Office website www.identitytheft.org.uk.