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Warning after tax scammers target Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 12:35 16 July 2020 | UPDATED: 12:35 16 July 2020

Tax scammers have targeted three people in Norfolk in one week  Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Tax scammers have targeted three people in Norfolk in one week Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Archant

Telephone scammers have defrauded people for thousands of pounds by ringing up and claiming they owe tax.

Police say the fraudsters say they are from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and trick them into transferring money or buying Google or Amazon gift cards.

Officers have received three reports of victims in Norfolk being scammed by this method over the last week alone for more than £11,000.

A man in his 30s from King’s Lynn, was phoned on Thursday, July 9, and told he owed outstanding tax and legal action would be taken if he did not settle his bill. He subsequently paid out £8,000 into different bank accounts.

A woman in her 70s, in Great Yarmouth, was called on Friday, July 10 and told she owed £2,397.64 for specific tax years and asked to pay in cash or Google Play vouchers.

A woman in her 30s, in Wymondham, received a call on the same day from someone claiming to be from tax fraud investigation to say she owed £1,999 and had purchased Amazon and Google gift cards and sent the codes to the fraudsters.

Chief Insp Matt Dyson said: “We would like to make residents aware that they may be contacted via a phone call, a voicemail or text message to try to convince them they are being called by HMRC about unpaid tax, sometimes threatening legal action or arrest if it is not paid urgently.

“Victims are often asked to pay in vouchers, such as Google Play, Amazon or i-Tunes where the codes can be passed on easily to the fraudsters. We are asking the public to be aware and read the guide below provided by Action Fraud, the National Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Centre.”

Police say 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 telephone display.

If you receive a suspicious cold call, end it immediately.

To report fraud or cyber crime, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.


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