Our police force have issued guidance after a series of scams from people claiming to be from reputable organisation such as banks or HMRC and pretending money is owed to them.
Thames Valley Police say the scams have been remarkably similar in method, and have targeted residents and businesses in Chiltern and South Buckinghamshire.
Officers are currently investigating a number of recent frauds where scammers have called the victims and claimed to be from a reputable organisation such as HMRC, their bank, telephone or internet provider or from the police.
They claim that money is owed to them and rather than asking for a bank transfer, have stated that the amount owed needs to be paid in vouchers.
Once vouchers have been purchased from a shop by the victim, the victim then reads out the activation codes over the phone to the scammer.
These calls are fraudulent and have led to victims losing hundreds and sometimes thousands of pounds.
Chief Inspector Tim Hurley, Deputy Commander for Chiltern and South Buckinghamshire, said: “Scams are sophisticated, complex and organized and I would like to work with the local residents and businesses to prevent crimes like this taking place through our anti-scam operation, Op Gauntlet.
“If you receive a call out of the blue from someone claiming to represent an organisation, be sure to pause and think. Ask yourself whether this caller is genuine and if you are in any doubt, hang up. No genuine company will ask for payment, of a fine or otherwise, to be made in vouchers.
“If you work or own a business which sells vouchers, pause and think if a customer wants to make a large purchase. Do not be afraid to ask a question of a customer who is looking to purchase hundreds of pounds worth of vouchers. You could be the person that stops them from being defrauded.”
If you believe you or someone you know has fallen victim to a scam, you should make a report to Action Fraud either through their website or by calling 0300 123 2040.