Criminals have been targeting pensioners living in the Cults, Bieldside and Milltimber areas of Aberdeen by pretending to be tax collectors and demanding payment – in the form of music vouchers.
Police have warned residents to be wary of a new phone scam involving cold callers pretending to be from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
Victims of the illegal scheme have been threatened over the phone, with the criminal saying they owe HMRC cash.
But bizarrely, the callers have requested the payments be made in the form of vouchers for iTunes vouchers, which can be used to purchase music, videos, and other items from Apple’s online store.
A police statement, circulated around the Cults, Bieldside and Milltimber areas, stated: “I would like to draw your attention to a scam which involves a male calling people – often older people – claiming to be from HMRC and alleging the home owner owes HMRC a large sum of money.
“Clearly, this part of the scam is intended to frighten the victim into acting irrationally.
“The male, who has used the name John, then advises that the victim can only repay the taxes in Apple iTunes vouchers, and, on occasion, has been successful.
“Please be aware that HMRC would never accept payment in Apple iTunes vouchers, and Apple is not part of any such scheme.
“If you happen to receive such calls, please do not speak with them, they are criminals trying to cheat you.
“Instead, hang up and then lift the phone.
“Once you hear a dialing tone, dial 1471 and note the caller’s number, current time and date.
“Report it to the police on the non-emergency number 101.”
An Age Scotland spokesman added: “This scam further highlights the importance of just saying no.
“Especially in the case of an unannounced phone call, always seek proper documentation by post and, if it’s from a national company or government organisation such as HMRC, hang up and call them from a different phone such as a mobile or a neighbour’s phone.
“If you’ve got any questions about scams and want to speak to a trained adviser, then call Silver Line Scotland, a helpline delivered in partnership between Silver Line and Age Scotland, on 0800 4 70 80 90.
“You can call us 24 hours a day.”