West Yorkshire Police has been flooded with more complaints about cold calling tax scams.
The Examiner revealed last week how Huddersfield residents were being targeted by criminals claiming they were from HMRC or the income tax office.
There are two types of fraud to watch out for – one asking people to send money to a bank account, another asking people to ring premium rate phone lines.
Crosland Moor resident Elaine Dewhirst said she had been telephoned and told she owed £400 in tax and would be arrested if she didn’t pay up. She became suspicious and did not pay.
On Thursday police said a woman in her 70s had been about to fall for a similar scam from people demanding £6,000.
It is thought the pensioner withdrew £1,000 and tried to pay the cash at her local bank.
Thankfully, branch staff realised she was being conned and foiled the plot.
West Yorkshire Police has now revealed they have had a further 12 reports of similar fraud.
Now two more potential victims from Huddersfield have spoken out to the Examiner.
Kirklees Council’s member for Almondbury, Clr Bernard McGuin, says he has been targeted twice himself.
He said the con artists were not only trying to scam cash directly but were also looking to trick people into ringing premium rate phone lines.
He said: “I have had several calls claiming that I owe income tax to the government.
“One said, ‘You owe us money, please ring this number immediately. If you don’t you could be taken to court.’
“I think they just want you to ring the premium rate number and keep you on the line.
“Do not ring up any number staring 0203. It’s a premium line and a call could cost you hundreds.”
He added: “HMRC would write to you if you did owe tax.
“Most of us pay tax through work anyway so let them sort it out.”
Coral Jones from Dalton said she had received a similar call which greatly upset her as she had been dealing with a genuine tax issue the day before.
“I felt quite alarmed,” she said.
“When I answered they said someone in the household was guilty of tax evasion and if they didn’t take action we would be taken to court.
“I was in shock. I was taken aback – I can understand people going into a panic and doing what they say.
“I’m retired but I can imagine someone in their 80s, it could cause them a heart attack.”
Mrs Jones said she had phoned the tax office who confirmed the call was fake and that they would never ring or email people.
A spokesperson for West Yorkshire Police, said: “Members of the public are asked to remain vigilant and not to pass on any personal or bank details to anyone they are not expecting a call from.
“If you are unsure ask for a contact telephone number and for a letter to be sent to you. Never feel under any pressure. You are under no obligation to give a caller any personal details over the telephone.
“Ensure that you check their identification and if you have any doubts or concerns at all about their authenticity ask them to wait while you call the company they claim to work for to verify they are indeed an employee or simply hang up the phone.”
Anyone who thinks they have been a victim of fraud or has any information is urged to contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit www.actionfraud.org.uk to get advice and guidance on protecting yourself from fraud.