Vulnerable and elderly people are being told they owe large amounts of tax which they can only pay off through digital vouchers and gift cards.

HMRC has issued a warning over fraudsters who are preying on victims by cold-calling them and impersonating members of staff from the Revenue.

Figures from Action Fraud, the national fraud reporting centre, show there have been more than 1,500 reports of this scam between January 2016 and August 2017.

The numbers have increased in recent months, with the vast majority of victims being over the age of 65 and suffering an average financial loss of £1,150.

The Revenue, which labelled the scammers as “very confident, convincing and utterly ruthless”, insists it would never use this method of payment to process a tax bill.

Quote from Nigel Holland:

“It is important that everyone is aware of this trending scam and especially vital that the elderly are warned due to them being the most vulnerable and essentially the target of the scammers. Additionally, you should never trust anyone who makes an unexpected call asking you to pay a tax bill, especially when asked to be paid through gift cards and vouchers. HMRC have quoted that they would never take payments through this method. It has been advised that all emails, calls and letters received from HMRC should be checked that they are legitimate first before people make a response as the scammers can be very convincing.

The scammers are very confident, intimidating and convincing, therefore tax payers should be wary that they don’t fall into their trap and thus lose out on a significant amount of money.”