Subject: Residents warned to be vigilant following hoax HMRC calls
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Peter Caldwell (Police, Digital Media Manager, Chesh Engagement Unit)
Police are warning residents to be vigilant following a spate of hoax calls from people claiming to be from HMRC.
Over the past 24 hours officers have received three separate reports from residents in the Northwich area who have received calls from a man purporting to be from Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
In each case the call is from a London number (0203) and the caller is told they are being investigated by HMRC for an outstanding tax balance and that somebody is on their way to arrest them.
The caller is then informed that if they pay the balance within two hours they will not be arrested, and then told that the balance must be settled using iTunes vouchers.
The caller is then advised to visit a high street supermarket to purchase the vouchers and must then call back the hoax caller and provide them with the serial numbers from the vouchers to settle their debt.
Sergeant Michelle Green said: “In each of these cases the victims have been told that they must purchase thousands of pounds worth of vouchers or face the prospect of being arrested; which has caused anxiety and concern for all of the victims.
“While the majority of victims did not fall for the scam, we are aware of at least case where the victim has lost £1,000.
“Having been made aware of this scam we have now launched a full investigation and are working closely with local supermarkets and convenience stores to help prevent vulnerable residents from purchasing large quantities of vouchers.
“I would also like to remind local residents that HMRC would never call you and ask you to settle a balance over the phone using vouchers. I advise anyone who believes that they may have been a victim to call us on 101.”
Anyone who believes they have been contacted fraudulently or have been a victim of fraud should call Cheshire Police on 101 and Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.