Cut off phone scam Sidmouth warning

PUBLISHED: 12:01 03 October 2009 | UPDATED: 10:34 18 June 2010

UNSUSPECTING Sidmouth residents are being urged to be on their guard as phone scammers continue to target the area. As reported in the Herald, con-artists claiming to be calling from BT have told their victims their account is in arrears. They then ask

UNSUSPECTING Sidmouth residents are being urged to be on their guard as phone scammers continue to target the area.

As reported in the Herald, con-artists claiming to be calling from BT have told their victims their account is in arrears.

They then ask for card or bank details in order to settle the account- usually for about £22.

But as people are wising up to the scammers demands, the fraudsters have a new trick up their sleeves.

A police spokesperson explained: "If the person refuses or asks for proof, the fraudsters then offer to prove who they are by disconnecting the phone line then and there.

"Once the victim puts the phone down, the scammer stays connected to their line, presses the 'mute' button thus giving the impression that the customer's line no longer works.

"The scammer can still listen to the 'open' line, and once satisfied you have put the phone down, they will call you back giving the impression that they have the authorisation to cut you off."

Police are urging the public never to pass on any bank account details to unsolicited callers and, if in doubt about a caller, hang up and call the company back using a phone number from a bill or the phone book.

The spokesperson added: "All legitimate companies have to comply with a code of conduct and will not be offended if you hang up and call them back."

Jason Mann, press officer for BT, has reassured customers that BT staff do not ring customers and threaten disconnection unless they pay then and there.

He added: "Our general advice to customers is never to give out personal details unless you are completely confident that the caller is bona fide.

"If customers want to check up on particular calls and if you are a residential customer ring our customer service line on 0800 800 150.


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