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Yet ANOTHER Phone Scam

Author: With thanks to Ros Published: 21st June 2011 08:36
Yet ANOTHER Phone Scam

One of our friends has passed this email on to us asking that we inform as many people as possible of yet another telephone scam.  And what better way than via your AboutMyArea website?  We are only too delighted to help, so please take note yourself, and warn any of your associates (particularly the elderly or vulnerable).  

I received a call from a 'representative' of BT, informing me that he was dis-connecting 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 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!
I asked the guy's name - he gave me the very 'English' John Peacock with a very 'African' accent - & phone number - 0800 0800 152. Obviously the fellow realized I didn't believe his story, so offered to demonstrate that he was from BT.
I asked how, and he told me to hang up & try phoning someone - he would dis-connect 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 by 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 dialled 1471 - number withheld!

I phoned his fictitious 0800 number - not recognized., so I phoned the police to let them know.  Apparently, 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, so please make as many friends & family aware of this. How is it done? This is good but not that clever. He 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, 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 always the one who needs to teminate it). When he hears you have stopped trying he cuts off and immediately calls back. You could almost be convinced!
The sad thing is that it is so simple that it would fool anyone who didn't know, and will certainly fool the elderly and vulnerable.
By the way this is not about getting the cash as this would not get past merchant services - it is all about getting the credit card details which include the security number so that it can be used for far larger purchases. 
PLEASE NOTE:- We have spoken to BT and to Virgin Media about this, and they assure us that they would NEVER demand immediate credit-card payment with an out-of-the-blue phone call, nor cut you off without plenty of postal correspondence first.


In case you DO receive any of these calls, we have a few suggestions for you:-
(a)  Keep a whistle by the phone and if you receive a call such as this, blow it very loudly for as long as you can down the phone - their "mute" button stops you from hearing them, but they will still hear you, so make it count to your advantage!!!
(b)  Tell them to hang on whilst you go and get you husband/wife as he/she is in the police force and looks after all the bills.  Give it a minute or two, and there's a good chance your caller will have gone by the time you get back.  If they are still there, then tell them you can't hear them properly, so there must be some kind of fault, they work for BT so please arrange for an engineer to call.   
(c) Tell them you are an undischarged bankrupt and as such you are not allowed a credit card - ask them for their bank details and you'll arrange a bank transfer, but you'll need their bank details for that.  If they're stupid enough to believe you and to give you their details, then pass that information on to the police, it may help catch them!
(d) If you have another phone available (eg a mobile), tell them to wait while you go and get your credit card, then out of earshot, use your other phone to dial your operator (eg 100 for BT, 151 for Vigin Media, etc), and tell the operator that the previous caller on the original number hasn't rung off, so please will they put the alarm tone down their phone.  Once the perpetrators hear that, they'll presumably realise they've been sussed, so move on to their next "victim" quickly for fear of being traced.
(e) If your phone line isn't going to be of immediate use to you, then tell them to wait while you go for your credit card, but don't do any such thing, make a few noises in the background, but don't go back the phone.  Eventually you'd assume, they would get fed-up waiting, and dial their next one.  (And the real "fun" is that all the this time goes onto THEIR phone-bill!)  Once your line is clear again, you can always do a 1471 to check whether you've missed any (other) calls.
(f) Ask them who they want.  If they don't know your name, then would YOU think it was a bone-fide call?
(g) Put YOUR phone on mute too, then they won't be able to hear what's going on at your end either, so they won't know when to call you back again, so why would they bother wasting more time with you?
If any of you have any other suggestions you would like to add, please feel free...


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robert s
At 06:37 on 23rd June 2011, robert s commented:
the 0800 0800 152 is what he gave you, but what number appeared on the display? Please post ip up on <a href="http://callercenter.com">http://callercenter.com</a> to warn other
Neil T
At 14:34 on 23rd June 2011, Neil T commented:
Hi Robert -
You need to notice that this article was from an email sent to a friend who informed us about it, so it was at least 3rd-hand.
As it was neither our friend nor ourselves who received the orignal scam phone call, we have no way of knowing what number showed up on the caller display.
We have been informed however, that this warning email started doing the rounds in 2009, but we have decided to leave the article on line as the warning itself is still pefectly valid.
Thanks for your interest!
Neil - Site editor AboutMyArea EN7, EN8, EN10, & EN11.

robert s
At 19:31 on 23rd June 2011, robert s commented:
oh i see what you mean, thank you for the reply

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