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Herts police warn residents to beware of scam 'HMRC' phone calls

Police are warning Hertfordshire residents to stay vigilant following reports of scam phone calls and text messages purporting to be from the taxman.

Seventeen elderly and vulnerable people in the county have been contacted by fraudsters claiming to be from Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC) in the last few weeks.

The victims were told there were unpaid taxes or outstanding debts in their names and were asked to make bank transfers as payment. As a result, a total loss of £10,855 has been reported so far.

The fraudsters cold-call victims, sometimes leaving voicemail messages, claiming that they owe unpaid tax to HMRC. The victims are asked to call back on a number provided. They are told there is a warrant out in their name and that if they do not pay they will be arrested by police. Victims are also sometimes contacted via text messages asking them to urgently call the number provided.

Det Insp Rob Burns, from Hertfordshire Constabulary's serious fraud and cyber unit, said: "These fraudsters tend to target elderly and vulnerable people and use the threat of arrest to frighten them into making bank transfers or buying the gift cards.

"It's important to remember that Government officials 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."

Visit www.actionfraud.police.uk or www.herts.police.uk/protectyourmoney for advice on avoiding scams.

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