A retired Carshalton postman has spoken out to warn others after he was scammed out of £500 by callers pretending to be from HMRC.

Arthur Packer, 80, said he had been contacted at the beginning of October by a caller claiming to be HMRC telling him he owed money.

Mr Packer was instructed to buy £500 worth of Google gift cards and to send them to the caller by post.

But when he called the number back saying he had purchased the cards, he was asked to go to WH Smith and purchase more.

"I went down to Smiths to buy the cards and they told me to go straight to the police station," he said.

"I gave my details there and after a month got a call back from the anti-fraud squad, but they basically said they couldn't do anything.

"It really did hit me hard when I realised it was a scam, I have had to tighten up on my spending since then."

Mr Packer spoke to both the police's fraud unit and his bank, Santander, but said he had not been able to get his money back.

But only yesterday (November 19), he received yet another call asking for him to buy more gift cards from Asda.

"I now know not to speak to them on the phone," Mr Packer continued.

"But I felt I needed to warn people about this sort of thing happening, particularly older people, as this could happen to anyone."

There have been numerous recent reports of similar scams targeting south London residents over the phone, often with the scammers claiming to be from HMRC.

Action Fraud has issued the following advice to protect against similar scams:

• Always question unsolicited requests for your personal or financial information. Just because someone knows your basic details (such as your name and contact details), it doesn’t mean they are genuine. Instead, contact the company directly using trusted methods such as a known email address or phone number.

• Legitimate organisations wouldn’t ask you to pay taxes, bills or fees using an iTunes gift card, or any other type of voucher. If you’re contacted by anyone that asks you to do this, you’re likely the target of a scam

• Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision. Under no circumstances would a genuine bank or some other trusted organisation force you to make a financial transaction on the spot.

• Report Phishing attempts. If you receive a call, text or email of this nature and have not lost money, you can report this as phishing to Action Fraud