Sidmouth woman warns of phone scam

PUBLISHED: 18:06 26 June 2009 | UPDATED: 09:33 18 June 2010

A SIDMOUTH pensioner is warning vulnerable people to watch out for a cruel scam after a cold caller demanded money and threatened to cut her phone off. Heather Thorne, 73, received the intimidating call on Sunday at 8.30pm from a man purporting to be f

A SIDMOUTH pensioner is warning vulnerable people to watch out for a 'cruel' scam after a cold caller demanded money and threatened to cut her phone off.

Heather Thorne, 73, received the intimidating call on Sunday at 8.30pm from a man purporting to be from BT.

He said he was called Raj Singh and told her that unless she paid £27 immediately she would be disconnected for a fortnight.

Mrs Thorne, of Manstone Avenue, said the man became increasingly irritated throughout the conversation and before he could demand her bank details she hung up.

She said: "I knew it was a scam. I had just paid my bill a couple of days before so I knew I didn't owe them anything. He said I would be cut off but I said 'do your worst' and I put the phone down."

Mrs Thorne reported the incident to a PCSO but she now fears other people who are more vulnerable may be coerced into paying the con artists.

She added: "I thought if it had been anyone older or housebound they might not have known it was a scam.

"I did feel upset afterwards the call. Even if, like me, you know you've paid your bill it does put doubt in your mind."

The BT scam has been operating in many areas of Devon and Sidmouth Police have received several reports from people who have had similar experiences to Mrs Thorne.

A police spokesman said: "If you receive any calls of this nature put the phone down straight away and report it to the police."

Jason Mann, press officer for BT, this week 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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