HMRC Amazon voucher scammers target South Yorkshire residents

A warning has been issued over a HMRC phone scam which has seen South Yorkshire residents conned out of cash.

Friday, 30th October 2020, 1:18 pm

Action Fraud has notified South Yorkshire Police of a number of recent reports from residents who have received calls from people claiming to be from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.

The scam involves fraudsters telling their victims that there have been tax fraud allegations made against them and that they have failed to respond to letters about them.

They then tell their victims that warrants for their arrest have been issued and put them through to a 'police officer' who appears to be calling from a South Yorkshire Police phone number.

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The victims are then told that HMRC is working in conjunction with online retailer Amazon and they must go to the Post Office to buy a number of £100 Amazon vouchers and send the codes to the fraudster.

PC Vicki Arrowsmith, from South Yorkshire Police’s fraud co-ordination team, said: “These phone calls can be very distressing to receive, particularly if you are a vulnerable person - so it's really important everybody spreads the message about these scams with their elderly or vulnerable loved ones.

“These fraudsters can be extremely convincing and I have no doubt it would frighten a lot of people if they thought there was a warrant out for their arrest.

“The scam appears even more legitimate when it looks like you are being called from a real South Yorkshire Police phone number. This trick is known as 'spoofing' - fraudsters can use technology to make it look like they are phoning from a known number.

“My main piece of advice is that if you are in any doubt at all, hang up, wait for 30 minutes and then contact HMRC, ideally from a different phone, on a trusted number to verify the authenticity.

“Genuine HMRC staff will never object to you making checks to ensure they are who they say they are.”

If you think you have been a victim of this scam, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit www.actionfraud.police.uk to pass on details.