Saturday, July 17, 2010

Scamwatch - make of this what you will

A new telephone 'scam' has arrived.
"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, or it would be £118 to re-connect at a later date.

The guy wasn't even fazed when I told him I was with Virgin Media, allegedly VM have to pay BT a percentage for line rental!

He realized 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!! (NO HE DID NOT!) 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 & he said credit card, there and 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 rang 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 as possible know of this scam. The fact that the phone does go off would probably convince some people it's real.

This is good but he wasn't very ingenious. He gave the wrong number - it should have been the BT Business number 0800 800152. 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. The sad thing is that it is so simple that it will certainly fool some people. Obviously, if this scam is real, once they have your credit/debit card details, there is nothing to stop them cleaning out your account.
(Notification through the usual friend of friend of friend system)

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