Hampshire County Council Trading Standards Service would like to bring residents’ attention to telephone scams where fraudsters cold call and demand payment of an outstanding bill. Payment is by purchase of Apple iTunes gift cards.
The fraudster may claim to be an official from HM Revenue and Customs, Ministry of Justice or other authority, and will threaten arrest if the payment is not made immediately.
Once the gift cards have been purchased, the victim is asked to provide the fraudster with the 12 digit code contained on the cards to “make the payment”. In reality, the fraudster will use or sell the code on-line where it can be exchanged for goods or virtual money.
Content of the calls may vary, but the demands are the same. In some cases victims have been directed to the nearest gift card vendor (supermarket or electrical store). Others have been made to give their mobile phone numbers, and have been called whilst at the store.
Residents can be assured that legitimate organisations will not operate in this manner. Any requests for payment by gift card should be viewed as attempted fraud.
Apple iTunes gift cards should only be used to purchase goods and services on the iTunes Store, App Store, iBooks Store, or for an Apple Music membership.