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|Katie Earnshaw (Police, Corporate Communications Officer, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight)
We're warning residents across Hampshire after 15 people were targeted in a scam.
The victims; two from the New Forest, two from Eastleigh, two from Fareham and nine from Winchester, were targeted as part of the scam on Tuesday, June 7.
On each occasion the victim received a telephone call from a person claiming to be from HMRC (Revenue and Customs). They were told that they will be arrested if they did not settle their unpaid tax bill. On some occasions the fraudsters asked the victim to purchase iTunes vouchers and then pass the card details onto them.
All 15 people knew it was a scam so refused to hand over any money and reported the matter to the police.
Detective Inspector Lee Macarthur, said: “Fortunately on these occasions the victims knew this was a scam and refused to hand over any money. They did exactly the right thing by reporting it to us immediately. Alternatively, these matters can be reported to Action Fraud.
“However, too often people do fall victim of these types of scams and end up handing over thousands of pounds. These types of incidents are understandably very upsetting for the victims.
“We want to warn residents about these calls and urge anyone who receives a suspicious call to refuse to hand over any money or bank details and report the matter to the police or Action Fraud immediately.
“If you have elderly relatives, friends or neighbours please make them aware of this scam and remind them not to give any details or money to unexpected callers.”
People are reminded to protect themselves using the following advice:
• Never give out any personal information about your bank account to anybody over the phone.
• If the caller asks you to ring them back so you can be sure of their identification, hang up and call the company they are claiming to be from using a different phone. If you can’t use a different phone, wait at least five minutes before calling back.
• If you have given out information which could compromise your bank account security in any way, call your bank up to cancel your cards as soon as possible.
• Never hand over money to someone at the door to be sent off elsewhere.
• If someone comes to your door claiming to be from a company or organisation, always ask for identification and make a note of their identification number. Ask them to wait while you verify their identity. Close the door, find the number of the company they claim to be from, and call them to verify their ID.
Anyone who is concerned about similar incidents should contact police by calling 101. If a crime is in progress, please call 999.
For more advice visit our website - http://www.hampshire.police.uk/internet/news-and-appeals/campaigns/Doorstep_crime
For information about Action Fraud and how you can report these types of crimes, visit http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/