Police warn of telephone scam in North Devon

PEOPLE across North Devon are being warned of a devious telephone scam designed to steal their credit or debit card details.

The alert has been issued after a report made to South Molton police of a caller claiming to be from BT attempting to persuade householders to pay money over the telephone to avoid being cut off.

The caller says their line will be disconnected because of an unpaid bill and demands �31 saying it will otherwise cost �118 to re-connect the line at a later date.

The scamster seems to have an answer for everything and if the customer tells them that they are with a different phone provider, they say you have to pay BT a percentage for line rental.

They provide a contact name and number and offer to demonstrate they are genuine. The customer is asked to hang up and try phoning someone. The caller advises that they will disconnect the phone to prevent this.

The customer’s phone line then goes dead – but in fact the scam artist simply has not hung up and then they will call back again, saying that is proof they are from BT.

Payment by card is requested immediately and the whole aim is to obtain the full card details, including the three digit security number on the reverse, so further purchases can be made before the customer is aware of it.

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“Unfortunately there are fraudsters out there trying to con people out of money,” said PC Graham James, neighbourhood beat manager for South Molton.

“Usually they target an area code - such as 01769 in this case - then move on when word spreads. Don’t be fooled by anyone calling you asking for money in this way.

“Please pass this message on to friends, family, and any elderly or vulnerable people that may be affected by this scam.”

If you have been a victim of the scam and lost money, call the police on 08452 777444. They would also like to hear from anyone who has been contacted but where the caller failed to get any money as they may have information which could assist with the investigation.

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