Apple works with HMRC and police to help combat iTunes scammers posing as tax officials

Written by Sam Trendall on 21 December 2017 in News
News

Public urged to be vigilant of fraud in which victims are instructed to buy digital vouchers to pay fictitious tax bills

Credit: Niall Carson/PA Archive/PA Images

HM Revenue and Customs and law-enforcement agencies are working with technology giant Apple to combat a scam centred on digital vouchers. The tax agency has urged the public to be vigilant against the ruse, which it claimed is currently engaged in “conning vulnerable and elderly people out of thousands of pounds”.

The perpetrators of the scam pose as HMRC employees and call potential victims to inform them of unpaid tax bills which can only be paid with “digital vouchers or gift cards” – often for Apple’s iTunes store, HMRC said. Victims are reportedly kept on the phone by the perpetrators while they follow instructions to go to a nearby shop, purchase the vouchers as instructed, and read out the redemption codes.


Related content


According to HMRC, these codes are then sold on by the scammers, or used to “purchase high-value products”. 

In the 20 months up to August this year, there were 1,500 reports of the scam being perpetrated, figures from national fraud reporting centre Action Fraud indicate. Victims are typically elderly, and the average financial loss is £1,150 per person.

HMRC said that it is “working closely with law enforcement agencies, Apple, and campaign groups” to raise public awareness of the scam and to whom any suspected fraud should be reported. To which end, the public are instructed that they can report instances of this, and any other such scams, via the Action Fraud website.

HMRC’s director general of customer services Angela MacDonald said: “These scammers are very confident, convincing and utterly ruthless. We don’t want to see anyone fall victim to this scam just before Christmas. That’s why we’re working closely with crime fighters to ensure taxpayers know how to avoid it.”

Temporary detective chief inspector Lara Xenoudakis of the City of London Police added: “We have received an increasing number of reports in which we have been told that people are being asked to pay fraudsters in iTunes vouchers. People should be cautious of unsolicited emails, calls or letters and always check directly with HMRC to ensure they are legitimate before responding.”

 

About the author

Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

Share this page

Tags

Categories

CONTRIBUTIONS FROM READERS

Please login to post a comment or register for a free account.

Related Articles

Constituents report MP to ICO over alleged data-protection breach in Facebook post
21 June 2018

Data-protection watchdog ‘making enquiries’ after Conservative Gordon Henderson publishes names and partial addresses of local residents who sent him a letter

NHS £150m Microsoft deal will banish Windows XP
2 May 2018

Health secretary announces investments in cybersecurity, including pledge to install Windows 10 across the board by 2020

Plans unveiled for £20m national police cybersecurity centre
2 May 2018

Centralised facility will allow forces to acquire security services while offering a nationwide view of the threat landscape

Related Sponsored Articles

Don’t Gamble with your password resets!
20 June 2018

The cautionary tale of the Leicestershire teenager who hacked high-ranking officials of NATO allies shows the need for improved password security