Belfast Telegraph

Fresh warning over HMRC scam which cost Northern Ireland pensioner life savings

Police have issued a fresh appeal over a HMRC scam which cost a Londonderry pensioner her life savings.

Police are urging members of the public to protect themselves against fraudsters claiming to represent HMRC following several reports of incidents in east Belfast on Friday.

PSNI chief inspector David Moore said: "On each occasion an elderly person was contacted by telephone, by an aggressive male claiming to be from HMRC.

"Threats of police arrest and legal action were issued by the individual in their attempt to coerce the elderly people to pay a non-existent debt. Thankfully no personal details were given or payments made, and each incident was reported to police.”

"HMRC will never contact you by telephone and ask for payment of tax arrears or threaten you with arrest. Scammers are inventive and can be very convincing, but each scam is designed to tempt you to drop your guard.

"If you are at all suspicious about a call that you receive, hang up and phone the organisation that the person is purporting to represent to check their authenticity. Ideally make the call from another telephone so you can be sure the original caller has not remained on the line."

Last month, one victim (69), received a threatening call from scammers claiming to be from HMRC, saying she would be arrested if she failed to pay back-tax.

The woman from the Waterside area of Londonderry, who has asked to remain anonymous, was instructed to go to her First Trust Bank and tell cashiers the credit transfer was for medical expenses. She lost £4,000. Her bank said the money can't be recovered, her daughter said.

She added that the family is furious over the brazen theft.

"She started to panic that she was in trouble when the call came," her daughter said.

"I'm furious. We didn't know anything about it as she didn't tell us.

"It was 5pm that night when we heard."

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