Midlothian residents are being warned not to be scammed into believing they can use iTunes cards to pay for general spending.
Officials are concerned that people may be enticed into using the cards to pay for items such as loan fees, HMRC tax bills, utility bills, online shopping or fees to accept a prize.
A fraudster will ask a person to make payment for something by going to a local shop to buy an iTunes gift card and then giving them the redemption code.
Once they have this number, they either drain the cash on the card or sell it online.
It’s difficult to track where the cash goes once the gift card is used by the scammer. Fraud victims are unlikely to get their money back.
One trader that has been asking for this type of payment is Storm Finance Ltd.
Councillor Russell Imrie, the cabinet member with responsibility for trading standards, said: “Fraudsters are getting more sophisticated in terms of how they operate. These criminals are expert in what they do and are very skilled at sounding plausible. Elderly people are especially vulnerable, particularly if being told by cold callers that they have outstanding tax bills. As a result they have been tricked out of thousands of pounds in iTunes vouchers scams across the country. Please warn friends and family of all ages about these scams.”
The council is reminding residents that iTunes cards and vouchers can only be used to purchase goods and services on the iTunes Store for Apple products.