Warning after fake HMRC calls target the elderly

Police
Police

Police are urging Sussex residents to be alert after a flurry of fraudulent phone calls in the Seaford area today.

Four calls were reported in a matter of hours, but fortunately none caused any losses to the people called.

In each case bogus callers claimed to be from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and claimed warrants existed for outstanding debts.

Three of the victims quickly saw through the subterfuge and terminated the calls.

The fourth, who had been told to withdraw £1,000 cash, was stopped from doing so by alert bank staff.

Two of the pitches involved people being advised to buy i-Tune vouchers to a similar value, while an 82-year-old woman who was approached hung up as soon as the caller asked for her National Insurance number.

In all cases the people who received the hoax telephone calls were in their 80s, bar one lady who was 78.

Sergeant Rob Knight, of the Sussex Police economic crime unit, said: “All the calls were received in a single morning, and it is highly likely that others may follow.

“The criminals carrying out these frauds are deliberately targeting those they think are vulnerable, so please do look out for your friends, family and anyone you feel may be at risk by urging them to be on their guard.

“If you doubt a phone call is genuine, simply hang up.”

Sgt Knight said police would like to hear from anyone else who has had such calls, giving as much information as possible.

Details can be reported online or by phoning 101, quoting Operation Signature.