Thames Valley Police have issued guidance following a series of scams from people claiming to be from reputable organisation pretending money is owed to them.
The scams have been remarkably similar in method, targeting residents and businesses in Chiltern and South Buckinghamshire.
Officers are currently investigating recent frauds where scammers have called the victims and claimed to be from a reputable organisation such as HMRC, their bank, telephone or internet provider or from the police.
Rather than asking for a bank transfer, the fraudsters have stated that the amount needs to be paid in vouchers.
Once vouchers have been purchased from a shop by the victim, the activation code is read out to the scammer over the phone.
These calls are fraudulent and have led to victims losing hundreds, sometimes thousands of pounds.
Chief Inspector Tim Hurley, Deputy Commander for Chiltern and South Buckinghamshire, said: “Scams are sophisticated, complex and organized and I would like to work with the local residents and businesses to prevent crimes like this taking place through our anti-scam operation, Op Gauntlet.
“If you receive a call out of the blue from someone claiming to represent an organisation, be sure to pause and think. Ask yourself whether this caller is genuine and if you are in any doubt, hang up. No genuine company will ask for payment, of a fine or otherwise, to be made in vouchers.
“If you work or own a business which sells vouchers, pause and think if a customer wants to make a large purchase. Do not be afraid to ask a question of a customer who is looking to purchase hundreds of pounds worth of vouchers. You could be the person that stops them from being defrauded.”
If you believe you or someone you know has fallen victim to a scam, you should make a report to Action Fraud either through their website or by calling 0300 123 2040.
Photo: Bucks Herald