Brits continuing to fall for HMRC and Apple gift card scam

Posted by George Coburn in Identity Theft on 30 January 2017 - George is a Credit Analyst at checkmyfile

At the face of it, it seems a bit odd that the company responsible for collecting taxes would request payment from individuals in the form of an Apple iTunes gift card, but according to Action Fraud, this scam has continued to be profitable for fraudsters. The scheme first came to light in May last year and Action Fraud have received hundreds of complaints since then.

Victims have been contacted in several ways but in each case, they were convinced to purchase vouchers for Apple in order to clear some form of tax arrears. One method employed by the fraudsters is to contact would-be-victims and leave an answer phone message claiming to be from Her Majesty Revenues and Customers (HMRC) and requesting they call back to discuss an outstanding warrant for their arrest. When they phone the fraudsters, they are convinced that payment needs to be made if they want to avoid prosecution. Not wanting to get arrested, the victim makes a seemingly irrational decision to pay the outstanding tax by purchasing Apple vouchers.

Another tactic employed is spoofing HMRC’s actual telephone number and this is when it shows on the victim’s telephone that they’re receiving a call from 0300 200 3300. The target is then free to check online to see who the caller is and this adds authenticity to the caller’s identity. Again, the caller then convinces the victim that they need to pay unpaid tax and to do this they should purchase Apple vouchers to clear the tax debt.

Finally, victims have reported receiving text messages claiming to be from HMRC requesting a call back about a pending court case. When the victim calls back, they are then told the same story of how they are going to be arrested for outstanding tax and they need to pay using Apple vouchers.

The vouchers themselves are easily sold by the fraudsters and it is hard to trace the fraudster once they’ve been sold on. In order to sell the voucher, the fraudster just needs to know the serial code on the back and this can then be sold to other people.

Action Fraud have reiterated that the HMRC would never sent text messages about rebates or penalties and, more importantly, would never request payment in the form of an iTunes voucher. It is relatively easy for a fraudster to spoof telephone numbers or make it look like they’re from a company so it is advisable to always be cautious when someone, irrespective who they claim to be, phones/texts you asking for payment.

Check Your Multi-Agency Credit Report

30 Day Free Trial

How To Check if Someone Is Using Your Identity For Fraud

Scams and fraudsters may have evolved to become more sophisticated over time, but when it comes to fighting back, one piece of advice has stayed true: If you’re concerned that you might have fallen victim to identity fraud or want to better protect yourself against it, your Credit Report is one of the best places to turn.

Published on 3 Apr 2019 by Paul Anderson-Riley

Full Article

Affected by the Marriott Hack? Here’s What To Do

If you’re one of the 500 million consumers to have stayed in a Marriott-owned Starwood chain hotel in the past four years, there’s a chance your personal information could have been compromised in what could be the second biggest ever data breach.

Published on 30 Nov 2018 by Jamie Mackenzie Smith

Full Article

Tesco Online Grocery List Disappears

After well over 10 years of using Tesco’s online grocery service, all of sudden, all of my Tesco order history has disappeared, alongside all the information stored in My Favourites – purchases made in-store and online over the past 13 months, My Usuals, and My Shopping Lists.

Published on 9 Oct 2018 by Barry Stamp

Full Article

Are linked addresses on your credit file a bad thing

Your Credit Report can surprise you: it can include reference to an address you have long-forgotten about or sometimes even an address you have never heard of, which is one of the reasons it’s important to check in every now and then.

Published on 30 Jul 2018 by Ian Carpenter

Full Article

Loan Fee Fraud: The £3.5 Million a Year Scam

For people facing financial hardship, sometimes taking out a loan to tide things over can seem like the most viable solution. But if you’re out of work or have a lower-than-average credit rating, it can be harder to get credit from mainstream lenders and mean that more expensive forms of finance in the sub-prime market are the only viable option. It often feels like a hopeless situation.

Published on 8 Jun 2018 by Jamie Mackenzie Smith

Full Article

Protecting yourself against identity theft online

Modern day fraudsters are now able to use the internet as a helpful tool to acquire a vast amount of information about an individual just from using their name. From this, they start to build a portfolio of data that they can then use to obtain credit, bank accounts and sign up for other services. By following a few simple steps you can help to reduce the risk of being exposed to a fraudster online.

Published on 22 May 2018 by Paul Anderson Riley

Full Article

Personal Data in the Wake of Facebook/Cambridge Analytica

Strange as it might sound to some, huge numbers of people routinely complete online surveys through Facebook to find out which football player they are most like, which Hogwarts house they should be in or how much money they will be earning in 2050. The truth is, every time you volunteer seemingly innocuous information or consent to share profile information with an app, your data is probably going somewhere to be used for another purpose.

Published on 17 Apr 2018 by Paul Anderson-Riley

Full Article

Identity Fraud: What To Do If It Happens To You

Year on year, there has been a substantial rise in the number of identity fraud cases being reported to organisations such as Cifas, the UK’s fraud prevention service. It’s no real surprise when you consider the crime can be committed from the comfort of someone’s home without ever having to risk showing their face.

Published on 6 Feb 2018 by George Coburn

Full Article

What's a Politically Exposed Person (PEP) & Why is it on my Report?

PEP stands for Politically Exposed Person, which would typically relate to an individual who has a prominent public title or function. If you receive this classification, often you will have to undergo additional security checks when applying for finance. Your credit file will tell you if you have been identified as a PEP, however for most people it isn’t something they’ll need to worry about.

Published on 8 Jan 2018 by Paul Anderson-Riley

Full Article

Yahoo’ve been hacked – Yahoo in largest ever reported data breach

In the last two years, we have already been alerted to data breaches at Three Mobile, Tesco Bank, TalkTalk, Morrison’s, Steam and Sage, amongst others. The scale of these hacker attacks have varied. But none have come close to the newest report.

Published on 16 Dec 2016 by Ben Tumilty

Full Article


We are rated number 1 for customer service on