Public Service notice
Thursday 19th August 2010
The new telephone 'scam' has arrived. Some of you may have seen this scam featured on Watchdog. Please alert Lerryn residents who do not have access to the Internet.
I received a call from a 'representative' of BT, informing me that he was disconnecting me because of an unpaid bill. He demanded payment immediately of £31.00, or it would be £118.00 to re-connect at a later date. The chap wasn't even fazed when I told him I was with Sky: allegedly Sky have to pay BT a percentage for line rental! I asked the chap's name ‘John Peacock’ - & phone number 0800 0800 152 or 0800 0800 152 .
Obviously the chap realised I wasn't believing his story, so offered to demonstrate that he was from BT. I asked how and he told me to hang up and try phoning someone - he would disconnect my phone to prevent this. AND HE DID!! My phone was dead - no engaged tone, nothing - until he phoned me again. Very pleased with himself, he asked if that was enough proof that he was with BT. I asked how the payment was to be made and he said credit card, there & then. I said that I didn't know how he'd done it, but I had absolutely no intention of paying him, I didn't believe his name or that he worked for BT. He hung up.
I did 1471 and phoned his fictitious 0800 number – not recognised. I phoned the police to let them know, I wasn't the first! It's only just started apparently but it is escalating. Their advice was to let as many people know by word of mouth of this scam. The fact that the phone does go off would probably
convince some people it's real, so please let as many friends & family aware of this. This is good but not that clever. He gave the wrong number - it should have been 0800 800152 which takes you through to BT Business. The cutting off of the line is very simple: he stays on the line with the mute button on and 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 the elderly and vulnerable. Obviously, if this scam is real, once they have your credit/debit card details, there is nothing to stop them cleaning out your account.
Footnote: Damon first drew our attention to this scam back in September 2009. It would appear that it is still doing the rounds so be vigilant.