It has come to light that scammers have found a new way to con people, they seem to be informing people that they owe a substantial amount of tax. According to those that have fallen for this scam, the cold caller explains to victims that they are to pay off the outstanding tax debt through an #Itunes voucher.

An 81-year-old man who has been a victim of this act reported that he was conned out of £20,000 after being contacted numerous times.

Victims are being called by a person who is posing as a member from HMRC, they are told they owe an outstanding tax balance, the scammer gives them instructions to go to a supermarket and purchase an iTunes voucher (as this is the only way that they can pay the tax that they owe).

Once they have purchased this voucher, they are then told to read out the redemption code on the voucher; this will then relieve them from the outstanding tax bill that they supposedly owe.

This redemption code is then used by the fraudsters to buy high-value items for themselves, or they sell the codes to somebody else.

This scam has been successful as scammers have managed to generate at least £1,150 on average, there has been a high number of reports; from over 1,500 victims that have unfortunately fallen for this scam.

This is how the scam is carried out step- by- step

Step 1: The fraudsters cold-call the victims and pretend to be someone from HMRC.

Step 2: Once they are on the phone, Scammers tell victims that they owe an outstanding amount of tax.

Step 3: Victims are then told to buy an Apple iTunes voucher, once this is purchased they must read the redemption code out to the scammer.

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Step 4: The scammer goes on to sell the redemption code, or they buy themselves a high-value product.

It is said that the scammers have been more successful with those who are aged 65+, the scam has been going on since 2016 and has only recently become known.

HMRC has now created an awareness campaign to stop this scam

HMRC is now doing all that they can to stop this horrible scam, there is an #Awareness Campaign that has been created to put an end to this. HMRC has told supermarkets to alert their staff members of any customers that they see buying a large number of gift vouchers, they are to help these customers and stop them from becoming victims to this heinous scam.

Since these supermarkets were warned, there have been reports of customers that are being stopped from becoming new victims. HMRC’s director general of customer service Angela MacDonald said:

"It's really reassuring to see reports of supermarket staff, off their own back, taking action to keep customers safe. Raising public awareness is the best safeguard against this vicious scam.

"Supermarket staff are often the last line of defence against these fraudsters. That’s why I’ve written to the chief executives of major UK retailers to urge them to make their staff aware of this scam so they can help protect unsuspecting customers."

If you or anyone you know has fallen into this trap, or if you have received a phone call along the lines of this please call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 immediately and report this.

Help us put an end to this crime!