SCAMMERS are preying on the elderly in a bizarre scheme in which they ask people to settle an urgent tax debt by buying itunes gift cards.

The scammers have struck twice in Powys and on one occasion an elderly lady attempted to settle a ‘bill’ of £3,198, while another was asked to pay a bill in the order of £2,000.

The con artists’ modus operandi is to phone the victim claiming they are ringing from the inland revenue and have noticed there has been a shortfall in their tax payments.

As a matter of urgency, they are asked to go to a store in a nearby town and purchase the itunes gift cards, with the payment being made to a code that then links up to an account the criminals can access.

One woman in Hay-on-Wye and a woman in Brecon were targeted. In one case the lady was asked to travel to a store in Gwent which sells the gift cards.

The phone scam came to light after Lee Garrett from Brecon MPT contacted the Brecon and Radnor Express to make sure people were made aware of how the conmen operate and could therefore take steps to avoid becoming a victim.

There is no suggestion that the store in Gwent is involved in the scam. In fact PCSO Garrett says it was the store that alerted Dyfed Powys-Police.

He said: “In both cases the victims targeted by the conmen were lady pensioners. In the first case, the lady went to a store in Gwent and tried to buy £3,198 in itunes gift cards. In the other case when the lady was asked to pay something in the order of £2,000, it dawned on her something was wrong and she put the phone down and then contacted us.

“My advice to anyone who is contacted by these criminals is not to engage in conversation with them and to put the phone down immediately. They should then do as the second lady did and call Brecon MPT on 101. Alternatively they can call the Action Fraud hotline on 0300 1232040.”