Growing concerns about “tax bill” fraud

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has warned of an increasingly common tax scam, which appears to be targeting older and more vulnerable people.
Since the start of the year, the tax authority has received around 1,500 reports of “ruthless” crooks trying to convince their victims that they can buy iTunes gift cards to cover the cost of a tax bill.
The majority of those to have been duped are over the age of 65 and considerable sums of money are involved; victims have lost an average of £1,150.
HMRC officials have said they are working closely alongside Apple to raise awareness of the con and are urging anyone who has been targeted to alert the appropriate authorities.
Angela MacDonald, HMRC’s director general of customer services, said: “We urge people with elderly relatives to warn them about this scam and remind them that they should never trust anyone who phones them out of the blue and asks them to pay a tax bill.
“If you think you’ve been a victim, you should contact Action Fraud immediately.”
The scam is usually perpetrated by fraudsters who purport to be working for HMRC. They call the victim to say that they owe a significant sum of tax and instruct them to buy a gift card, before encouraging them to read out the code.
The crooks are then able to either sell this on or redeem it themselves to buy high-value items.
As the scam has grown increasingly prevalent, wording has been added to the back of iTunes vouchers warning people against sharing the code with anyone else.

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