Officers urge people to be vigilant to Amazon gift card scam
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With the festive season upon us, Northamptonshire Police is reminding members of the public to be on their guard from scams where victims are tricked into buying Amazon gift cards.
The warning comes after several residents in the Wellingborough area were cold called recently by fraudsters claiming to be from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), contacting them regarding a debt they owe.
The fraudster asked them to purchase Amazon gift cards to the value of the debt, before getting them to read the voucher numbers over the phone. In some incidents they have asked the victim to disclose their bank details.
Fraud Supervisor, Bryan Pye of Northamptonshire Police’s Economic Crime Unit, said: “It's important to remember that HMRC, or any bona fide organisation, would never cold call anyone in order to get payment for debts.
“These organisations would also never requests Amazon gift cards as a method of payment, which can only be used for purchases online at Amazon.co.uk and can’t be used for anything else.
“Please do not believe anyone who requests gift cards as payment, asks you to disclose your bank details or threatens to arrest you if you do not pay immediately. This is a scam.
“Our advice would be to terminate any call of this nature straightaway and report any such calls to your local police force by calling 101 or online at Action Fraud.”
Tips to avoid being the victim of an Amazon card scam
• DO NOT respond to an internet listing or unsolicited email or phone offer that you feel is too good to be true. It most likely is too good to be true
• DO NOT share Amazon Gift Card claim codes or send money - in the form of physical cash, cashiers cheque, wire transfer, Western Union, PayPal, MoneyGram, or any other means - to any person claiming to be an authorised agent of Amazon or Amazon Pay seeking payment
• DO NOT make a payment to a seller who claims Amazon or Amazon Pay will guarantee a transaction made outside of Amazon.co.uk, will hold your funds in escrow during an inspection period, or refund your money if you are not satisfied with a purchase that you made offline
• DO NOT use an Amazon Gift Card to pay for anything over the phone or e-mail, including bills or services (for example TV, utilities, legal services, taxes)
• DO NOT use an Amazon Gift Card in connection with claiming lottery or prize winnings, on the promise of receiving a large amount of money, or in exchange for a "guaranteed" credit card or loan.
• If someone requires payment in the form of Amazon Gift Cards in exchange for a large sum of money or a guaranteed payment method, you can be confident it's a scam.