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Elderly woman in Cumbria scammed out of £1,000

12 similar incidents are said to have happened in the same day Photo: PA

An elderly woman, from Whitehaven, has been scammed out of £1,000.

The incident happened after the woman, in her late 80s, received a phone call which appeared to be from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

The on-going scam involves callers claiming to be from HMRC, and tricking people into buying iTunes vouchers.

The caller states that prosecution action will take place unless a payment is made.

The trick phonecall took place yesterday, where the woman later bought £1,000 worth of the music vouchers in one of the town's supermarkets.

The scam appears to be one of many, as police report being contacted by a Carlisle supermarket, where 12 similar requests had been made in one day.

The potential victims were discouraged from handing over any money.

Cumbria Constabulary 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.”

– Cumbria Constabulary spokesperson

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.