Warning over iTunes gift card scam
West Lothian Council's Trading Standards and Police Scotland are warning local residents to be wary of a scam that involves iTunes gift card voucher codes.
Fraudsters have been calling people to say they owe non-existent debts and taxes, which must be paid using iTunes gift card voucher codes.
Previous incidents have seen scammers contacting victims and claiming to be from Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC), but in recent weeks there have instances of West Lothian residents being caught out by similar scam callers claiming to be from Microsoft and
Payment protection insurance (PPI) claims companies. In two incidents in the past month alone, the individuals concerned have lost a total of £2,200.
The scammers use iTunes gift cards to collect money from victims because they can be easily redeemed and sold on. The scammers don't need the physical card to redeem the value and instead get victims to read out the serial code on the back of the card over the phone.
West Lothian's Executive councillor for the environment Tom Conn said: "It's important to know that iTunes gift cards can ONLY be used to purchase goods and services on the iTunes Store, App Store, iBooks Store, or for an Apple Music membership.
"If you're asked to use the cards for payment for any other purposes, you could very likely be the target of a scam and should immediately report it to Action Fraud (the National Fraud & Cyber Crime Reporting Centre) on 0300 123 2040 or call Police Scotland on 101.
"It's very distressing to hear of local residents being caught out by these scams, but it's important to report it to try and stop the scammers tricking other people.
Sergeant Iain Wells from the West Lothian Community Safety Unit said: "We would ask local retailers be aware of this scam and report any unusual purchases of large quantities of iTunes gift cards, especially by vulnerable members of our communities."
If you or someone you know has been a victim of a scam, information and advice on this and other consumer rights is available from Citizens Advice Consumer Service. Please go online at Citizens Advice - Adviceguide to make an online complaint or enquiry, or call them on 03454 040506.