Staff at an Angus supermarket have been praised after saving a shopper from falling victim to a telephone scam.
Police have issued a fresh warning to the public after the iTunes gift voucher scam, which had swept across Courier Country late last year, re-emerged in Forfar.
Fraudsters have been phoning victims, usually the elderly or vulnerable, and asking them to make payments for various things; often making immediate demands for payment to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
They are then asked to clear the debt by purchasing iTunes gift cards from the nearest retailer, paying their ‘debts’ down the phone using the 16-digit codes on the back of the cards.
The latest warning was issued after staff at a supermarket in Forfar asked a customer why they were purchasing hundreds of pounds worth of iTunes cards. Staff then alerted the police.
A police statement said: “Regardless of the reason for payment, the scam follows a certain formula. The victim receives a call instilling panic and urgency to make a payment to clear the debt by purchasing iTunes gift cards from the nearest retailer (convenience store, electronics retailer, etc.).
“After the cards have been purchased, the victim is asked to pay the alleged outstanding debt by sharing the 16-digit code on the back of the card with the caller over the phone.
“Victims, usually the elderly or vulnerable, are asked to pay via iTunes for gift vouchers; which they are urged to purchase before contacting the cold caller again.
“HMRC would never make such a request, and any call of this nature is a scam. Fortunately, staff at a supermarket in Forfar noticed a member of the public attempting to buy hundreds of pounds worth of these cards, asked them why, and alerted the local Police.
“This has saved the potential victim a very large sum of money.
“iTunes Gift Cards can only be used to purchase goods and services on the iTunes Store, App Store, iBooks Store, or for an Apple Music membership.
“If you are contacted by telephone and approached to use the cards for payment out with the iTunes Store, App Store, iBooks Store, or Apple Music, you are very likely the target of a scam and should immediately report it to the police.
“Please do not ever provide the numbers on the back of the card to someone you do not know. Once those numbers are provided to the scammers, the funds on the card will likely be spent before you are able to contact Apple and cancel the cards.”
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