CHESHIRE Police have issued a warning after a spate of hoax phone calls from scammers posing as officers.

In the past month, the force has received 12 reports of hoaxers purporting to be police acting on behalf of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.

The call is initially automated and asks the victim to press one in order to be connected to HMRC.

A recorded message then informs the victim that they have an unpaid tax bill, and that there is a warrant out for their arrest unless they pay immediately.

Detective sergeant Chris Jacques, of Cheshire Police’s economic crime unit, said: “In each of these cases, the victims have been left understandably shaken due to the fact they have been told if they do not pay their tax bill immediately then they will be arrested.

“Some of the victims have been left without hundreds and, in some cases, thousands of pounds due to this scam.

“It is important to remember that police officers and HMRC will never call you and ask you to settle the balance of a tax bill over the phone.

“Telephone numbers can easily be spoofed, and you should never trust the number you see on your telephone display.

“If you receive a suspicious call, do not give any information over the phone and end the call immediately.

“I would advise anyone who believes that they may have been a victim to this scam to please report it to us on 101.”

Scams can also be reported by calling Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

Cheshire police and crime commissioner David Keane added: “The recent rise in HMRC fraud has not only left victims without thousands of pounds but has also had a significant emotional impact, especially during this difficult period of time.

“As police and crime commissioner, I am committed to supporting victims of fraud and will ensure that action is taken against the heartless scammers who continue to try and prey on the residents of Cheshire.

“I would urge all residents to remain vigilant and to tell others to be wary of these scams in order to protect your friends and family against fraud.”