Detectives are urging residents across Cheshire to be vigilant following a spate of hoax calls from scammers claiming to be police officers acting on behalf of HMRC.
Since Tuesday 2 June, officers have received 12 reports of people receiving calls from someone purporting to be from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
The first part of the call is automated and asks the victim to press 1 in order to be connected to HMRC.
A recorded message then informs the victim that they have an unpaid tax bill and that there is a warrant out for their arrest unless they pay immediately.
The fraudsters then ask the victims to make a bank transfer to pay off their supposed outstanding tax bill.
Detective Sergeant Chris Jacques of the Economic Crime Unit said: “In each of these cases the victims have been left understandably shaken due to the fact they have been told if they do not pay their tax bill immediately then they will be arrested.
“Some of the victims have been left without hundreds and, in some cases, thousands of pounds due to this scam.
“It is important to remember that police officers and HRMC will never call you and ask you to settle the balance of a tax bill over the phone.
“Telephone numbers can easily be spoofed and you should never trust the number you see on your telephone display.
“If you receive a suspicious call, do not give any information over the phone and end the call immediately.
“I would advise anyone who believes that they may have been a victim to this scam to please report it to us on 101 or via https://www.cheshire.police.uk/ro/report/.”
Police and Crime Commissioner David Keane said: “The recent rise in HMRC fraud has not only left victims without thousands of pounds but has also had a significant emotional impact, especially during this difficult period of time.
“As Police and Crime Commissioner I am committed to supporting victims of fraud and will ensure that action is taken against the heartless scammers who continue to try and prey on the residents of Cheshire.
“I would urge all residents to remain vigilant and to tell others to be wary of these scams in order to protect your friends and family against fraud.”
Anyone who believes they have been contacted fraudulently or have been a victim of fraud should call Cheshire Police on 101 and Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.