Conmen posing as HMRC tax officials target elderly men in 'national scam'

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Police are urging elderly residents in Hull to be vigilant after a conman posing as a tax official targeted a man as part of a "national scam".

The fraudster, pretending to be from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) called the man and told him he owed money.

To settle his debt, the conman said he needed to buy £500 of iTunes vouchers and send him the codes or the victim would face arrest.

The elderly man reported the caller to police after a shop worker questioned why he was buying the gift cards and warned it was a scam.

Local community police officer PC Katie Peach took the report from the elderly man and escorted him home safely and took steps to ensure his welfare.

This included taking a phone call at the man’s home from a man believed to be the would-be scammer - enquiries are currently ongoing in connection with that.

PC Katie Peach, who responded to the incident and spoke to the victim, praised the shop workers for helping and said the scam was a national operation.

She said: “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.”

To report a fraud of this nature call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

For further details about the scam visit HMRC and iTunes gift card scam at - www.actionfraud.police.uk/news/alert-hmrc-and-itunes-gift-card-scam-may16