Telephone Scam operating in Warwickshire (including Kenilworth)

Whilst there are several scams operating at any one time Kenilworth Neighbourhood Watch is issuing a warning this afternoon about a telephone scam.  The scam has been tried on residents within Kenilworth in the last few days and we have made contact with Warwickshire Trading Standards earlier today to confirm the scam and seek their advice.

Consequently, Trading Standards have supported us in issuing this alert. Please make sure that any relatives that perhaps do not have computers, access to the internet or mobile phones are advised and warned. Please give particular thought to elderly people and/or those who live alone.

The scam is very clever, sounding and appearing to be very plausible. All residents that have a landline telephone can easily fall victim to this scam. The following is the actual course one of these scam calls took when it was made to a person.

Person receives a telephone call from a person stating it is BT. They informed the caller that they are disconnecting the line because of an unpaid bill. The caller then demands payment immediately, in the case we are quoting it was the sum  of £31.00 or it would be £ 118.00 to re-connect at a later date.
The caller wasn’t even fazed when the person told him they were with Virgin Media (cable TV company). He said that Virgin Media have to pay BT a percentage for line rental. (This is NOT true)
The person asked the caller’s name – he gave said John Peacock but his accent suggested he was from another continent, and as such unlikely to have such a name. He gave his phone number as 0800 0800 152.
By this time the caller realised that the person didn’t believe his story, so offered to demonstrate that he was from BT. The person asked how could he do so?  The caller told the person to hang up & try phoning someone else – he would disconnect the phone to prevent this. Such a call was indeed prevented. (How this is done is explained shortly)
The person’s phone was dead – no engaged tone, nothing. Then the caller phoned the person again. (he had cleared down the line from his end which would enable him to then call back). Very pleased with himself, the caller asked if that was enough proof that he was with BT. The person asked the caller how the payment was to be made & he said by credit card, there & then.
The person said that he didn’t know how he’d (the caller) had done it, but had absolutely no intention of paying him. The person also told him that he didn’t believe his name or that he worked for BT. The caller then hung up.
The person then dialled 1471 -number – it came back as ‘number withheld’ then they phoned the 0800 number he had given – it was not recognised. The person then telephoned the police to let them know. They were not the first! This scam has only recently started, but it is escalating.
Police advice is to let as many people as possible know of this scam. The fact that the phone does go off would probably convince some people it’s real, so please make as many friends & family aware of this.
How is the prevention of a call done?  Its good but not that clever. The caller gave the wrong number – it should have been 0800 800 152 which takes you through to BT Business.
The cutting off of the line is very simple, the caller actually stays on the line with the mute button on so you can’t dial out – but he can hear you trying. (This is because the person who initiates a call is the one to terminate it). When you stop trying he cuts off and immediately calls back. You could almost be convinced!
The sad thing is that it is so simple that it will certainly fool many. By the way this is not about getting the £31 cash as this would not get past merchant services.  It is all about getting the credit card details which include the security number. This is then used  for larger purchases or a spending spree.
If you have been affected or are concerned in anyway please contact Warwickshire Trading Standards. More information is available at http://www.warwickshire.gov.uk. Telephone number 01926 410410
If you have received such a call and provided any personal credit card or banking details contact your credit ard or bank IMMEDIATELY to advise them and get your cards stopped.
PLEASE REMEMBER TO ALERT AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE SO THEY DO NOT FALL VICTIM TO THIS  DECEPTION.
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