Police have warned the public – particularly the elderly – to be on their guard as a scam is currently sweeping the area.
And there have been a number of near misses, where people have only realised at the last minute that the call was a ruse.
The PSNI in Craigavon has been inundated with callers from concerned locals who have had callers – believed to be scammers – try to swindle them.
It has been so bad that they have been unable to get round everyone in person and have taken to social media in a bid to help spread the word.
The PSNI said earner today said there had been a spate of scams or frauds across the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon borough.
Most of these have targeted the elderly and police in other parts of Northern Ireland have reported similar calls – dozens in recent days.
Today alone, the PSNI in Craigavon has received close to 20 calls from concerned residents.
The con involves a phone call claiming to be from HM Revenue and Customs or similar agency, demanding the victim phones a number – mostly an 01322 number – and warning of “financial or legal consequences if they don’t”.
The PSNI, issuing a warning via social media, said: “Of course, this is NOT HMRC or indeed any other official agency. It’s cowardly scammers who want your money.
“On one occasion, they demanded a man go and purchase several thousand pounds worth of iTunes vouchers. He contacted us on his way to the shop! From there chances are they would have taken the voucher codes and claimed the money back.”
In another incident this afternoon, a resident did fall for the scam but alert bank staff became suspicious and prevented the would-be victim from withdrawing thousands of pounds.
The PSNI urged: “Please- speak to elderly neighbours, friends and family NOW. Warn them about this and tell them to hang up the phone if they receive this call.
“The number given should NOT be called back. If you are particularly concerned about a call, phone us on 101. Where possible you should log the incident online with Action Fraud.
“Let’s get the word out there and have the conversations NOW with our elderly friends and family. It isn’t the younger generations being hit here- it’s our most vulnerable. They probably won’t be reading this so please do take the time for those conversations before it’s too late.”
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