Trading standards warn of BT phone scam 

30/06/09

The council’s trading standards team is warning Bolton residents to be on their guard against a con by scammers claiming to be from BT.

Officers from the team have received reports of people in Greater Manchester being conned into disclosing their bank and credit card details after being told their bill hasn’t been paid and the phone will be cut off. Pressure is put on the victim to provide bank or credit card details in order to pay over the phone.

“This is a scam. If you receive such a call, simply tell the caller to send an invoice and proof that the sum is owed, and put the phone down,” said Liam Kelly, Principle Trading Standards Officer.

“The people behind this con are likely to be seeking personal information, such as debit or credit card numbers, or identities. BT has confirmed that they would never threaten to disconnect someone if they did not pay there and then.

“In a clever twist, the victim at first resists and puts the phone down but when the phone is picked up again the line appears dead. All that will have happened is that the scammer will not have put the phone down after the first call. The line will then be blocked, giving the impression it has been cut off and adding credibility to the story.  The caller then comes back on line and persuades the victim to pay the bill by card.”

Councillor Nick Peel, Executive Member for Housing, Neighbourhoods and Regulation, said: “Although the trading standards team is not aware of any cases within the Bolton area, it is important people are forewarned and able to protect themselves against these scammers. Please be on your guard and tell your friends and family to do the same.”

Anyone who thinks they have been the victim of such a scam should report it to Consumer Direct on 08454 040506 or visit the link above for advice.

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Joanne Cooke
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