Reading Police would like to make residents aware of a scam we know is happening in our area. The caller claims to be from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
Victims are being contacted in a variety of methods and are told they owe an outstanding debt. In most cases they ask for payment in iTunes gift card voucher codes.
Fraudsters like iTunes gift cards to collect money from victims because they can be easily redeemed and easily sold on. The scammers don’t need the physical card to redeem the value and instead get victims to read out the serial code on the back over the phone.
Methods fraudsters use:
Spoofed calls: Fraudsters cold call victims using a spoofed number and convince them that they owe unpaid tax to HMRC.
Voicemails: Fraudsters leave victims automated voicemails saying that they owe HMRC unpaid taxes. When victims call back on the number provided, they are told that there is a warrant out in their name and if they don’t pay, the police will arrest them.
Text messages: They may also use text messages that ask victims to urgently call back on the number provided. When victims call back, they are told that there is a case being built against them for an outstanding debt and they must pay immediately.
How to protect yourself:
- HMRC will never use texts to tell you about a tax rebate or penalty or ever ask for payment in this way.
- Telephone numbers and text messages can easily be spoofed. You should never trust the number you see on your telephones display.
- If you receive a suspicious cold call, end it immediately.
- Please report any suspicious incidents immediately to the Thames Valley Police Enquiry Centre on 101.