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Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime, has received hundreds of reported cases from unsuspecting victims who have been tricked into paying fake outstanding tax to Her Majesty Revenues and Customs (HMRC), via Apple iTunes vouchers.

It’s thought that scammers are asking for iTunes vouchers as payment, because  they can be easily redeemed and sold on. The physical card isn’t required to redeem the value, so fraudsters can instead get victims to read out the serial code on the back over the phone. 

Here are a few ways unsuspecting victims are being targeted and what to look out for:


Scammers are leaving automated messages stating that the recipient owes HMRC unpaid taxes. When victims return the call they are told a warrant is out for their arrest unless they make payment straight away via iTunes vouchers.

Spoofed calls

Some victims have reported receiving cold-calls using a ‘spoofed’ 0300 200 3300 phone number, where they are told they owe money to HMRC and to pay via iTunes vouchers immediately.

Text messages

Fraudsters have been sending text messages requesting that the recipient urgently call back on the number provided. They are then again told that a warrant is out for their arrest and that they urgently need to pay taxes owed to HMRC in iTunes vouchers.

It is important to remember that HMRC will never use text messages to inform about tax rebate or penalty, nor will they ask for any payment in the form of iTunes voucher. They will only post out P800 tax calculations in circumstances of under or overpayment of taxes, if you’re employed or get a pension.

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