Scam costs Highlanders $100,000 in the month of December | VIDEO

SCAM WATCH: Bowral police inspector John Klepczarek has warned the community about a scam involving iTunes cards. Photo: Madeline Crittenden.
SCAM WATCH: Bowral police inspector John Klepczarek has warned the community about a scam involving iTunes cards. Photo: Madeline Crittenden.

Highlanders have been scammed out of more than $100,000 during December through a scam based around iTunes cards. 

Older people in the shire have been targeted by fraudsters, who are demanding payment via iTunes gift cards to clear Australian Tax Office bills. 

Bowral police inspector John Klepczarek said the scam had been reported predominately by the elderly. 

“They are getting a call or email saying they owe hundreds or thousands of dollars to the tax office and that payments needed to be made immediately via the ITunes cards,” he said. 

In September 2017, the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission said 1236 Australians had lost almost $540,000 in the "gift card as payment" scam.

The watchdog said it was an increasing trend, with $480,000 in losses in 2015-16. 

The scammers asked their victims to buy the cards and pass on the serial number, claiming that's how the cards are activated.

But those details actually allow the scammers to sell the card and pocket the money.

“I can’t stress enough that no government organisation accepts payment via an iTunes or giftcard,” Inspector Klepczarek said. 

“Use your common sense, if it doesn’t sound right - it probably isn’t.”

Inspector Klepczarek said it was always important to check the origins of the email, and alert police to any scams.

“When in doubt always check where the email came from,” he said. 

“Don’t ever call a number listed in the email, do your own research and find the number for banks, or the ATO yourself.” 

Police have also asked members of the public to educate parents or grandparents of this scam. 

Businesses that sell iTunes gift cards have been encouraged to inform their staff about these scams so that they can help warn customers and even question any customers spending large amounts of money on iTunes gift cards.

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