MP warns constituents to be alert to phone scam

Jo is warning the public to be alert to a widespread phone scam, where people posing as BT employees threaten to cut off telephone lines unless a charge is paid over the phone.

The caller claims that the victim’s BT bill is overdue and demands a payment, asking for credit card details. Reports suggest that if challenged the callers attempt to ‘prove’ they are from BT by putting their victims on ‘mute’ to make them believe their phone line has been disconnected.

English newspapers are warning their readers of the scam, which at least three elderly people in Suffolk fell victim to over the weekend – due to the persistent nature of the fake BT representative on the other end of the line.

The public are being warned to remain vigilant against anyone who claims to be from BT, and who asks for bank details over the phone. If targeted, it is essential to get as much information from the caller as possible without giving away any personal details. BT customer services will then be able to verify if the caller is a genuine employee.

If the fraudster pretends to cut the line, they may still be able to hear what is being said. Victims ought to hang up and wait for at least five minutes before calling anyone else.

Commenting, Jo said:

“When dealing with an unsolicited call, don’t give away any personal information, especially your credit or debit card details. If you are at all unsure, find out who you are talking to and then verify it – genuine companies like BT would not try to obtain information or payment in this way.

“It is important to make sure your friends and families are aware that this scam is occurring. These criminals are trying to frighten people into giving them money, and anyone targeted by this scam ought to report the incident to the police.”

A BT spokesperson said:

“The police are investigating and BT Security is looking into incidents where the fraudsters have claimed to be from BT.

“Whilst BT does have debt handling procedures which may involve calling customers, BT never carries out disconnections during the call by way of proof.

“We advise customers never to give out any banking details over the phone unless they are absolutely certain who they are dealing with.

“If there is any doubt at all, a BT employee will be able to give the customer their employee ID number and an 0800 number to call, where the customer can check that they are who they say they are. The customer can also check their identity by calling 0800 800 150.”

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