POLICE would like to warn the public in the South West about a telephone scam that is conning vulnerable and elderly people out of thousands of pounds.
The scammers prey on victims by cold calling them and impersonating an Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) member of staff.
The caller tells the person that they owe large amounts of tax which they can only pay off through digital vouchers and gift cards, including those used for Apple’s iTunes Store. Recent calls to residents in the Torbay and Teignmouth areas apparently originate from a Manchester area code (01618).
Victims are told to go to a local shop, buy these vouchers and then read out the redemption code to the scammer who has kept them on the phone the whole time.
The conmen then sell on the codes or purchase high-value products, all at the victim’s expense.
The scammers frequently use intimidation to get what they want, threatening to seize the victim’s property or involve the police. One caller stated that if the victim hung up then the amount payable would go up to £90,000.
HMRC would never request the settling of debt through such a method.
The advice is to share this information and TALK to potential victims who are not on social media.
If you suspect that you or a vulnerable or elderly relative has been the victim of this scam or a similar one, report it immediately to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use: action fraud.police.uk .
Check gov.uk website for information on how to avid and report scams and how to recognise genuine HMRC contact.
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