Scam warning – Residents are being asked to pay tax due to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in iTunes vouchers.
Dorset Police has been made aware of a scam whereby individuals are being contacted, in a variety of methods, and told they owe an outstanding debt to HMRC.
In one day, 13 reports were made to Dorset Police from residents, primarily in the North and East of the county.
Detective Inspector Neil Wright, Force Volume Crime Unit, said: “I urge residents to be aware of this trend affecting Dorset. Tell your loved ones, your neighbours and your colleagues.
“This is a scam. HMRC will never ask you for iTunes vouchers or anything else similar as payment for unpaid tax.
“If you receive a suspicious call just hang up. Don’t engage with these people as it just gives them more opportunities to pull you in.”
iTunes gift cards are becoming more popular as a way to collect money from victims because they are easy to redeem and quick to sell on.
You do not need to be in possession of the physical card to redeem the value. Often victims are asked to read out the serial code on the back over the phone which instantly credits their account.
An HMRC spokesperson said: “HMRC takes security extremely seriously. We are aware that some people have received telephone calls from individuals claiming to be from HMRC. We have a well-known brand, which criminals abuse, to add credibility to their scams.
“We recommend if you cannot verify the identity of a caller, do not speak to them. We encourage you to check GOV.UK for information on how to avoid and report scams, recognise genuine HMRC contact and make payments to HMRC.”
If you are suspicious of an email or text claiming to be from HMRC, please send it to email@example.com so it can be checked.
For information and advice about scams in Dorset, go to the Fraud Alert page of our website – dorset.police.uk/fraud. Scams should be reported to Action Fraud (the national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre) on 0300 123 2040.
Alternatively you can sign up to Action Fraud Alert to receive direct, verified and accurate information about scams and fraud in your area by email, recorded voice and text message.