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Gift Voucher Scam Alert

Alert message sent 24/12/2021 10:21:00

Information sent on behalf of Thames Valley Police

As we rapidly approach Christmas and the subsequent sales, it's important to remain vigilant to scammers who unfortunately look to exploit the goodwill and festive spirit at this time of year.

We are aware that some residents locally have received emails as part of a gift voucher scam.

An email is received which appears to be from a friend or colleague asking you to buy a number of gift cards - Google or Apple Pay. The email will usually be from someone you know (their email may have been hacked or an email address very similar to theirs has been created and used.) The email explains they can't buy the gift cards themselves because they are in a meeting or can't get to the shop but that they will pay you back as soon as they can. 

The email will also likely ask you to photograph the cards once purchased and send them photos of the unique codes printed on each card. This allows the scammer to use the gift cards to make online purchases and needless to say you will never see your money again.

If you receive an email like this, do not purchase any gift cards. If it is from someone you know, ring them to check if the request is really from them and if not then they need to be alerted their email may have been hacked.

If you work in retail and someone attempts to buy gift cards to a large value, please check they are aware of this scam and that they are certain the request they have received to buy the cards is genuine.

You can report phishing emails such as this by simply forwarding the email to

With this important advice shared, it's a good opportunity to wish all of you celebrating a very Merry Christmas from us all at Thames Valley Police!
Message sent by
Mel Reedman (Police, Senior Communications Officer, Thames Valley)

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