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Warnings over iTunes telephone scam

File photo

Police have issued a warning about a scam where a fraudster pretending to be from HM Revenue & Customs tries to trick victims into paying bogus debts and taxes using iTunes gift cards.

An elderly man from Kirk Ella, East Yorkshire, nearly fell victim to the fraudsters after receiving a phone call telling him he owed money to HMRC. He was told he faced arrest unless he bought £500 worth of iTunes vouchers and told the scammer the codes over the phone.

Fearing arrest the man went to a nearby shop to buy the gift cards where fortunately, a member of staff questioned him about why he needed so much. The man then explained what had happened.

Believing it to be a scam, the member of staff advised the man that this was not likely to be a genuine call and took him to the local police station to report the matter.

Humberside Police are investigating the incident. They are also warning people to speak to elderly relatives and friends about the scam.

This is a really good example of how the community can work together with the police to help protect those who may be vulnerable. We must praise the supermarket staff member for recognising that this man may have been the target of an attempted scam, and for bringing him to speak to police to receive the advice and reassurance needed. We in turn have taken steps to help prevent anything similar happening again to this gentleman and, thankfully the combined actions of all involved have ensured that on this occasion the fraudsters were not successful.

We are aware of another similar call being made to police which again did not result in money being taken, but the public should be aware if they receive a call like this that it is not legitimate.

If you have elderly relatives, or perhaps a neighbour who may be vulnerable to falling victim to fraudsters, please let them know that organisations like the HMRC would never approach their customers in this manner and to make sure they report anything suspicious to police

Unfortunately, this is a national scam, primarily used to target the elderly who are vulnerable and more susceptible to frauds of this nature. I would ask everyone to spend a moment speaking to their elderly relatives and make them aware of this so we can help protect those who may be at risk in our area.

– PC Katie Peach, Humberside Police