Householders have been warned to be on their guard against telephone scammers.
The Ukash scheme is an entirely legitimate system which allows consumers to buy vouchers to shop online without the need for a credit card or bank account.
But fraudsters are using it as a basis for various telephone and internet scams.
Two Blackpool residents received telephone calls focused on payment protection insurance rebates
The fraudsters then ask for a sum of money for legal fees or taxes – paid in the form of vouchers - so that the cash can be released.
But the con men make off with the money, the refund probably didn’t exist and the victim ends up significantly out of pocket.
Fortunately, the two residents targeted this week – who were both offered refunds of more than £5,000 – were wise to the con and called Blackpool Council to inquire about the legitimacy of the calls.
But Coun Gillian Campbell, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for public safety, said she was worried others may not be so lucky.
She said: “We’re putting this warning out now to try to ensure people are wise to these types of tricks.
“Many of us will know a relative or friend who is perhaps less technically savvy who may be unsure about this type of thing.
“Don’t let them be taken advantage of and make sure they understand what to do if and when they are called.”
Trading standards officers advise residents that, if they do have cause to buy Ukash vouchers, they should never real the vouchers codes.
Retailers are urged to ask customers the reason they are purchasing Ukash vouchers.