Hertfordshire Constabulary is warning residents to stay vigilant following further reports of scam phone calls and text messages which appeared to be from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
Victims were targeted in the Watford, Hemel Hempstead, Hertford, Cheshunt, and Hatfield areas, with eight of the 19 victims losing more than £19,889.
The victims were contacted by the fraudsters claiming to be the HMRC over the last two weeks. The victims were told there were outstanding debts or unpaid taxes in their names. The offenders then asked the victims to make bank transfers as payment.
The fraudsters cold call victims using a spoofed number, sometimes leaving voicemail messages claiming that they owe unpaid tax to HMRC.
The victims are asked to call back on the number provided, through which they are told that there is a warrant out in their name and if they don’t pay, the police will arrest them. The victims are also sometimes contacted via text messages asking them to urgently call the number provided.
Detective Inspector Rob Burns, from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Serious Fraud and Cyber Unit, said: “Fraudsters are continuing to call residents in Hertfordshire using this tactic, especially targeting elderly and vulnerable people. They can be quite forceful and intimidating to try and frighten victims into making bank transfers, buying gift cards or vouchers.
“It’s important to remember that government official and police officers will NEVER contact you in these ways or ask you to buy gift cards, vouchers, withdraw money, purchase goods or hand over private banking details.
“Please help us to raise awareness by talking about this with your friends and family, especially if they are vulnerable or elderly.”