A woman has been left devastated after a conman convinced her to pay him more than £11,000 in iTunes vouchers.
The victim, who is aged in her 60s, was called by a man claiming to be from the Inland Revenue who said she owed thousands in unpaid tax.
He ordered her to buy £11,400 in gift vouchers to meet the 'debt' - or face repossession proceedings and police arriving at her home in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, by the next day.
Under pressure, the woman followed his instructions to buy gift vouchers from six different stores and then read out the serial codes down the telephone.
She later contacted police, only to be told she had fallen prey to a cruel con.
Police have warned that fraudsters were increasingly asking for vouchers as they are harder to trace than bank transactions, and they can be easily redeemed or sold on by using the serial codes.
They have urged anyone who receives a suspicious request for cash to contact police, and also told shop workers to be on the lookout for strange purchases.
If staff suspect that someone may be buying something due to blackmail, they should refuse to process the transaction, the force said.