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HMRC phone scam warning after elderly Whitehaven woman scammed out of £1,000

[P]olice are continuing to receive calls from members of the public regarding a scam which attempts to gain money.

The telephone scam relates to a caller purporting to be from HMRC, stating that prosecution action will be taken unless payment is made, specifically in the form of i-Tunes vouchers.

The latest incident took place today, after a Whitehaven woman in her late 80s bought £1,000 worth of i-Tunes vouchers in one of the town’s supermarkets.

Police have also been contacted this week by a member of staff at a Carlisle supermarket, where 12 similar requests had been made in one day. Fortunately, in these incidents the potential victims were discouraged from handing over money.

A Cumbria Constabulary spokesperson said: “We have received tens, if not hundreds of these calls over recent months and we want to advise people to be vigilant to prevent them from falling victim.

“Our advice for such scams is to politely decline to hand over any money and to take the details of the caller and contact HMRC on 0870 280 2566, ideally on a different phone, to check if it is an actual case or fraudulent.

“The HMRC website states they would never use these methods to tell you about a tax rebate, a penalty or even to get personal payment information.

“We would also appeal to supermarket staff to be vigilant. If someone, particularly someone elderly, visits the store and asks to purchase a large quantity of these vouchers, please question why they are doing so.”

Anyone who comes across such a scam should contact Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.org.uk or contact the Action Fraud Hotline on 0300 123 2040 as they are the investigatory body for offences of this type.

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