Beware! HMRC and iTunes Scam

Staffordshire Police are reminding people to be aware of the trend of victims being contacted by offenders claiming to be from HMRC following a report received in South Staffordshire.

Just after 3:30pm on 16 November they received a call reporting a bogus phone call made to a 72-yr-old woman in Cheslyn Hay.

The male caller claimed to be from HMRC and told the victim that she owed tax money to the Inland Revenue. He told her that she had two options – fight it through court or pay it back through iTunes vouchers.

The woman purchased £500 worth of vouchers and gave the numbers from the back to the caller when he rang back a short time later. He then told her that someone would come to her house later to collect the vouchers and issue her with a cheque to the same value.

£500 itunes gift card

At this point she became suspicious and told the man that she thought this was a scam, he then hung up.

The phone number that called her was 0161 850 3938. (Incident number 507 of 16 November)

THIS IS A SCAM – Please tell your parents, grandparents, elderly family and friends about this.

Victims, often elderly and vulnerable, are contacted in a variety of methods with offenders claiming to be from a government agency collecting outstanding debt. In most cases offenders ask for payment in iTunes voucher codes or security bonds.

iTunes vouchers can be easily redeemed and easily sold on. The offenders do not require the physical card to redeem the value and instead get victims to read out the serial code on the back over the phone.

This series continues to affect some of our most vulnerable community members with the average age of the victim being 70 years. Some have reported becoming ‘panicked’ and ‘finding this very upsetting’.

The telephone number used most recently by the offenders is 0161 850 3938. This is a known number on various website ‘scam lists’ detailing the same scam being used throughout the country.

The offenders would not continue this criminality if they were not seeing returns. It is likely that are elderly members of Staffordshire’s community who have been victim to high value losses and are unaware of the fact they have been a victim of crime. They may feel embarrassed and scared to speak out feeling it’s their fault. As well as financial losses suffered these crimes have a detrimental impact on a person’s mental and physical wellbeing.

HMRC will never use texts to tell you about a tax rebate or penalty or ever ask for payment in this way.

Telephone numbers and text messages can easily be spoofed. Do not trust the number on your display. If you receive a suspicious cold call, end it immediately. Google the telephone number, it may already be a known scam number.

To report a fraud and receive a police crime reference number, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via their online fraud reporting tool.

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