The Bromley Neighbourhood Watch team has warning residents about an increase in malicious calls and voicemails from callous fraudsters.

The scammers pretend to be from Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customers (HMRC) and are successfully deceiving victims over the phone.

Victims are told they have not paid tax and therefore face prosecution or other legal proceedings to settle the balance.

Payments are arranged by bank transfer or purchasing iTunes gift cards and if the victim refuses they are threatened with bailiffs or in some cases deportation.

HMRC will only contact you via post or letter and maybe a follow up call if it is a genuine case.

A caller will then quote the reference number on the initial letter and no payment will be demanded over the phone.

The Bromley Neighbourhood Watch team shared the following Action Fraud advice:

• Always question unsolicited requests for your personal or financial information. Just because someone knows your basic details (such as your name and contact details), it doesn’t mean they are genuine. Instead, contact the company directly using trusted methods such as a known email address or phone number.

• Legitimate organisations wouldn’t ask you to pay taxes, bills or fees using an iTunes gift card, or any other type of voucher. If you’re contacted by anyone that asks you to do this, you’re likely the target of a scam

• Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision. Under no circumstances would a genuine bank or some other trusted organisation force you to make a financial transaction on the spot.

• Report Phishing attempts. If you receive a call, text or email of this nature and have not lost money, you can report this as phishing to Action Fraud