An iTunes scam in which fraudsters claim to be from the Financial Ombudsman Service is sweeping the country.
Police in South Yorkshire today shared a warning from the national Action Fraud team, urging people not to fall prey and end up £300 out of pocket.
Fraudsters claiming to be from the ombudsman cold-call potential victims, telling them they have a cheque for a large sum of money from a compensation claim.
Victims are told to buy around £300 of vouchers, usually for iTunes, to 'release' this fictitious compensation.
They are advised that a courier will collect the vouchers from their home address and a cheque will be sent to them in the post.
Action Fraud states: "The Financial Ombudsman Service, which deals with complaints from consumers about the financial services industry, is a free service for the public and it would never cold call households to ask for a fee in order to claim reimbursement.
"If you think a call claiming to be from the Ombudsman is suspicious you can call them directly on 0300 123 9123."
It has offered people the following advice to protect themselves from fake ombudsman calls:
* Never buy iTunes or other gift vouchers if instructed to by someone claiming to be from a government body or official
* Never provide personal details – such as your address, phone number etc - unless you're absolutely sure a request is genuine
* Never hand over any payment to anyone claiming to work at the ombudsman – their service is free to all consumers and they would never ask you for money over the phone
* Never provide any of your banking or credit card details unless you know for certain that the request is genuine
* Never give anyone your security information, such as your internet/telephone banking password or log-on details (no genuine banking firm ever asks you to provide this information)
* If you think you have been a victim of fraud, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 20 40 or by using the online reporting tool at www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud.