Police in Greater Manchester are warning members of the public not to be taken in by a telephone scam which has left a 72-year-old victim hundreds of pounds out of pocket.
The scam, which sees unsuspecting members of the public receive telephone calls from people claiming to be from HMRC, has already conned a 72-year-old woman out of £1300 and officers fear more victims may have been taken in but not yet reported it to police.
The offenders, purporting to be from the Tax Office, called the woman and told her she owed thousands of pounds, before threatening to send police officers to her address if she did not pay some of the money back immediately.
They then told the victim that they would only accept payment in the form of iTunes vouchers.
On Friday 13 January 2017, the 72-year-old woman from Beswick, North Manchester, bought £1300 of iTunes vouchers from Asda and Currys after receiving one of these calls from an unknown offender.
She then called the offender back and gave him the voucher codes in an effort to pay back a debt she had never owed.
It was only after the victim told a family member did she realise that she had been tricked.
Constable Amanda Simmonds said: “This scam is the work of a cruel and heartless confidence trickster and we would like to warn the public not be taken in.
“We know of one case already, but it is incredibly likely that she is not the only person to have been contacted by this offender or offenders.
“If you receive an unsolicited call from someone purporting to be from HMRC or the tax office and asking for payment of a debt you did not know you owed, treat this with the utmost suspicion.
“Similarly, I would like to ask members of staff at supermarkets and other stores to be wary of elderly or seemingly vulnerable people buying large amounts of iTunes vouchers.
“Some common sense questions from the cashier at these stores might have saved this woman from losing hundreds of pounds, and staff at big retail stores can help us make sure that no one else is taken in by this criminal.”
If you believe you have been the victim of this scam, or you have any information which may assist police enquiries, please contact police on 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111