Cheshire Police are advising residents to remain vigilant following reports of hoax calls from people claiming to be from HMRC.
Three separate reports in the last 24 hours have been reported by residents who received calls from a man purporting to be from Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC). It’s reasonable to assume that many more residents have been contacted but have immediately seen through the hoax and chosen not to report the incidents.
On all of the reported incidents the victim was told they were being investigated by HMRC for an outstanding tax balance and if they didn’t settle the balance then they would be arrested. The caller was then informed that if they paid the balance within two hours they will not be arrested, and then told that the balance could only be settled using iTunes vouchers.
The victims were then advised to visit a high street supermarket or electronics store to purchase the vouchers and then call back the hoax caller and provide them with the serial numbers from the vouchers to settle their debt.
Chief Inspector Simon Meegan said: “In each of these cases the victims have been told that they must purchase hundreds of pounds worth of vouchers or face the prospect of being arrested; which has caused anxiety and concern for all of the victims.
“Thankfully in all three cases the victims did not fall for the scam and no money changed hands. However, having been made aware of these incidents we are working closely with local supermarkets and electronics stores to help prevent vulnerable residents from purchasing large quantities of vouchers.
“I would also like to remind local residents that HMRC would never call you and ask you to settle a balance over the phone using vouchers. I advise anyone who believes that they may have been a victim to call us on 101.”
Anyone who believes they have been contacted fraudulently or have been a victim of fraud should call Cheshire Police on 101 and Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.