FRAUDSTERS conned a Stratford woman out of £11,400 by getting her to buy iTunes gift cards.
The woman, who is in her 60s, was called by a man claiming to be from Inland Revenue saying she owed £10,000 after failing to complete her tax return. He told her to pay the money back within 24 hours or the police would come to her house and seize her car.
She was instructed to buy iTunes gift cards – which she bought from shops in and around Stratford – to pay the money back.
Once she had collected the gift cards the conman told her to remove the security tape from the back of the card and read out the serial numbers.
Warwickshire Police are warning people that fraudsters are using iTunes gift cards to collect money from victims more frequently because they can be easily redeemed and easily sold on.
The scammers do not need the physical card to redeem the value and instead get victims to read out the serial code on the back over the phone.
Det Sgt Jordan Baker said: “The victim is extremely distressed following this incident. We’re doing all we can to support her and identify those responsible.
“This is the first time we have seen this tactic used by offenders and we’re keen to make the public and shop workers aware to in order prevent others falling victim.
“If you work in a shop and are concerned that someone making a purchase such as this is being blackmailed then refuse the transaction and please call the police straight away.
“It might be nothing or you might be able to stop another person falling victim.”
People are urged to report calls like this either to the police if the crime is in progress by calling 999 or after to Action Fraud on www.actionfraud.police.uk or 0300 123 2040.