An elderly resident was conned into purchasing £1,000 worth of fake iTunes vouchers to clear a non-existent debt she was being threatened with arrest over.
The victim, from Central Beds, purchased two £500 vouchers over the phone from the bogus caller who claimed to be from the Ministry of Justice.
Now Central Beds Council has issued a warning to residents not to fall victim to the similar cons.
A spokesman said: “The Trading Standards team is warning residents to be on their guard if they receive any suspicious telephone calls claiming to be from a ‘Court’ or the ‘Ministry of Justice’.
“Callers may claim that you have an unsettled fine or debt recorded against you and will instruct you to provide payment by purchasing iTunes vouchers, or similar, for large amounts. The caller may inform you that they will call back the following day so that you can provide them with the voucher activation codes.
“These calls tend to target the elderly and vulnerable – one elderly lady has recently reported to us that she was threatened with arrest if she did not purchase iTunes vouchers to the total of £1,000.
“Act with caution if you ever receive such a call. Do not provide any form of payment or your personal details to anyone over the phone unless you are certain that they are genuine. If you have any doubts, do not be afraid to end the call by simply hanging up.
“If for any reason you feel the call may be genuine, without providing your details, ask them to contact you in writing, so you can assess whether you are required to pay anything or not.
“Please help prevent others from falling victim to this type of scam, by making your elderly relatives, friends and neighbours aware of this warning.”
If you ever experience or suspect a scam, report it to the council on 03454 040506.