Warning to Watford residents after scam victims lose £38,000

Warning to Watford residents after scam victims lose £38,000

Warning to Watford residents after scam victims lose £38,000

Watford residents are among those who have fallen victim to fraudsters claiming to be from the tax office.

Hertfordshire police are warning people to be wary of scam HMRC phone calls and texts after victims have lost more than £38,000 in the last few weeks.

Fourteen elderly and vulnerable victims have been contacted by the fraudsters claiming to be the HMRC and told there were outstanding debts or unpaid taxes in their names. The offenders then asked the victims to make bank transfers as payment.

Residents of Hatfield, Hertford and Watford were targeted.

The fraudsters cold call victims using a spoofed number, sometimes leaving voicemail messages claiming that they owe unpaid tax to HMRC.

The victims are asked to call back on the number provided, through which they are told that there is a warrant out in their name and if they don’t pay, the police will arrest them. The victims are also sometimes contacted via text messages asking them to urgently call the number provided.

Detective Inspector Rob Burns, from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Serious Fraud and Cyber Unit, said: “Fraudsters are continuing to target elderly and vulnerable people and sometimes even use the threat of arrest to frighten them into making bank transfers, buying gift cards or vouchers.

“It’s important to remember that government official and police officers will never contact you in these ways or ask you to buy gift cards, vouchers, withdraw money, purchase goods or hand over private banking details.

“Please help us to raise awareness by talking about this with your friends and family, especially if they are vulnerable or elderly.”

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