Lancashire Police's warning to iTunes and Steam gift card customers after scammers steal £6.5 million in the last three years

Lancashire Police have issued a warning after scammers have started targeting consumers through gift cards.

Tuesday, 21st August 2018, 9:20 am
Updated Tuesday, 21st August 2018, 9:25 am
People have already lost a staggering 6.5m to this type of fraud
People have already lost a staggering 6.5m to this type of fraud

A police spokesman took to social media saying: "Scammers are posing as legitimate organisations such as HM Revenue & Customs and making bogus claims for payments via text, e-mail and phone.

"They will then try to con people into making payments using iTunes or Steam gift cards.

"People have already lost a staggering £6.5m to this type of fraud - remember no legit organisation will ask you to make payment for any taxes or fees by asking you to read the numbers off the back of gift cards.

Advice on how to avoid being scammed

"Scammers will also target the most vulnerable in our communities so please share to raise awareness and lets stamp this out."

Between April 1, 2015 and March 31 2018, 11,329 reports of fraud involving iTunes gift cards were made to Action Fraud.

In the same period, £6,561,380 was lost to this type of fraud, with the average person losing £579.

The UK's national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre, Action Fraud, is now working with retailers including Argos to help raise the profile of this fraud type with the general public.

Argos has now put a £200 limit on the amount of iTunes vouchers one person can buy at a time.

Staff in stores have also received education on how to spot the signs of this fraud to prevent customers from falling victim and posters bearing protect advice have been placed in stores to warn customers to spot the signs.

Fraudsters are using online store gift cards to collect money from victims because they can be easily redeemed and sold on.

The fraudsters don’t need the physical card to redeem the value and will instead use tactics to persuade victims to purchase gift cards in large amounts and read out the serial code on the back over the phone.