We are seeing a notable increase in reports of fraud, locally and nationally, of frauds where people are being conned in to make payments over the phone for things such as outstanding taxes, debt collection, and utility bills (predominantly mentioning HMRC and tax owed). Sadly last week, one local elderly victim lost £3,600 to this con.
Regardless of the reason for payment, the fraud follows a particular formula: The victim (often elderly) receives a call instilling panic and urgency – caller will often claim there is a warrant for arrest unless the debt is settled that day.
Victims are frightened in to making a payment by purchasing iTunes Gift Cards from the nearest retailer, being advised that iTunes Cards are a recognised, safe and accepted method of payment over the telephone.
After the cards have been purchased, the victim is asked to pay by sharing the 16-digit code on the back of the card with the caller over the phone.
It's vitally important that we get the message out, particularly to elderly vulnerable persons, that iTunes Gift Cards can be used ONLY to purchase goods and services on the iTunes Store, App Store, iBooks Store, or for an Apple Music membership. If you're approached to use the cards for payment outside of the iTunes Store, App Store, iBooks Store, or Apple Music, IT IS A FRAUD, and should immediately report it to Action Fraud.
Could you help us by sharing this message to your contacts, and also by pledging to #Tell2 in the real world – please share this information with older relatives and neighbours so that we can prevent others from becoming victims.
No matter who the caller claims to be, if they mention paying a debt by iTunes vouchers #HangUp