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Police intervene as elderly man loses hundreds in iTunes scam

PUBLISHED: 11:52 30 November 2018 | UPDATED: 17:11 30 November 2018

Mere Street in Diss, where police have been working to combat a scam based on vouchers. Picture by: Sonya Duncan

Mere Street in Diss, where police have been working to combat a scam based on vouchers. Picture by: Sonya Duncan

Police have issued a warning after an elderly Norfolk man was tricked out of hundreds of pounds by an iTunes voucher scam.

Phone iTunes and Google card fraudsters are targeting people in South Norfolk. Picture: Simon ParkinPhone iTunes and Google card fraudsters are targeting people in South Norfolk. Picture: Simon Parkin

Alerts have been issued by police and HM Revenue and Customs this week amid reports of phone scammers claiming to be from HMRC and asking them to settle bills using Goggle or iTunes vouchers.

Jim Squires, South Norfolk Police engagement officer, said: “It’s a horrible thing. We had a elderly and vulnerable gentleman local to Diss scammed to the tune of £800 on Tuesday.

“Then he went out and did it again the next day because they phoned him again. These scammers, once they know they have got them they don’t stop.”

The scam sees a fraudster make a cold call and tell them they owe a significant amount in tax, and says it can be paid off by buying Google or iTunes gift cards.

Fraudsters ask for iTunes cards because their codes are hard to trace and they can be resold.

This week South Norfolk Police have been visiting shops that sell gift cards in Diss to educate staff about the scam. Warning posters have also been put up in the shops.

PC Squires said: “The shops in Diss have been really supportive. Basically if someone comes into the shop and buys large quantities of gift cards, question them. Ask them what they are for. Ask if they’ve been asked to pay a debt off using the cards. If they say yes, call the police.”

When the scammed man tried to buy gift cards a second time, a shop staff member alerted police.

PC Squires said: “Thankfully we intercepted the second time and we can hopefully reimburse his money. Educating the staff is nice from a community angle because these are national corporation companies, and we’re really chuffed that they have realised how this is affecting the community.”

Earlier this month Norfolk Trading Standards warn people to be aware of ‘gift card scams’ involving the purchasing of fake vouchers.

In one incident in South Norfolk a resident received a call which claimed to be from trading standards, stating they were going to attend the resident’s property with a cheque for £5,000 due to an overpayment at the bank.

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