National Association of Business Crime Partnerships

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Gift card/ voucher scam

Over the past three years Police Scotland and RAC have noted an increase in the number of members of the public being cold called by fraudsters claiming to be officials from various government departments advising they have an outstanding debt to a government agency such as HMRC or DWP and more recently requesting amounts to be paid to unlock a PPI claim. 

The caller (fraudster) thereafter requests settlement of the alleged debt by means of purchasing gift cards such as iTunes or store gift cards and more recently gaming vouchers. As the majority of victims are mostly elderly and vulnerable persons they typically feel intimidated and threatened by such a call. The fraudster does not require to have physical control over the card/ voucher merely the identifiable code on the rear to have control of the cash amount. 

Victims are requested to attend at a local supermarket/ store to purchase the gift cards/ vouchers and on return will have further contact with the fraudsters at which time they are instructed to reveal the identifier code to the caller. 

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Incidents have been reported of victims being scammed out of thousands of pounds at any one time. Many stores have been very proactive in their efforts to take preventative measures to safeguard their elderly and vulnerable customers and have deterred attempts to purchase cards recently.  

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Kylie Wroe