Officers warn residents in Chester to be vigilant following spate of hoax calls Date published: 24th October 2017 1.01pm

Officers in Chester are warning residents to remain vigilant following a number of hoax calls from people claiming to be from Government organisations.

Over the last few days officers have received three reports from residents who have received calls from men purporting to be from Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) or the Courts.

On each occasion the victim was told they were being investigated for an outstanding balance and if they didn’t settle the balance then they would be arrested. The caller was then informed that if they paid the balance within two hours they will not be arrested, and then told that the balance could only be settled using iTunes vouchers.

The victims were then advised to visit a high street supermarket or electronics store to purchase the vouchers and then call back the hoax caller and provide them with the serial numbers from the vouchers to settle their debt.

Detective Inspector Carlos Brunes, of Cheshire CID, said: “In each of these cases people have been told that they must purchase hundreds of pounds worth of vouchers or face the prospect of being arrested; which has caused anxiety and concern for all of the victims.

“Sadly, one person did fall victim to the scam and handed over £2000 of iTunes voucher codes. Thankfully the other two victims were stopped by vigilant store staff. Following these reports, we are working closely with local supermarkets and electronics stores to help prevent vulnerable residents from purchasing large quantities of vouchers.

“I would also like to remind local residents that HMRC and the Courts would never call you and ask you to settle a balance over the phone using vouchers. I advise anyone who believes that they may have been a victim to call us on 101.”

Anyone who believes they have been contacted fraudulently or have been a victim of fraud should call Cheshire Police on 101 and Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.