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Beware phone scammers - Trading Standards warns over threat to 'cut off internet service'

PUBLISHED: 05:30 31 July 2019

Suffolk residents have been warned to beware of phone scammers. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Suffolk residents have been warned to beware of phone scammers. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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People in Suffolk are being warned to beware of phone scammers who threaten their internet service will be cut off.

Suffolk Trading Standards say some vulnerable victims have been conned out of money by the cold callers.

A woman in Ipswich, who asked not to be named, said: "I received a phone call with a recorded voice saying, 'This is your internet service provider. This is to let you know your internet service will be cut off in 24 hours.'

"I was sure it was a scam, but I am worried about people who might be frightened by this type of call."

Sasha Watson, Suffolk Trading Standards community engagement officer, said scam calls are often being received both locally and nationally, and callers may claim to be from various companies or utilities.

The calls are usually made from outside the UK, by a computer dialling numbers at random. Residents are typically asked to press a button, which puts them through to someone who then demands a payment.

"Sometimes these callers direct people to fake websites. We know of one vulnerable man who was phoned up by someone falsely claiming to be from BT.

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"They directed him to a site which looked as if it was a BT website, showing that he had a £4,500 bill.

"The caller said, 'It looks as if you have been scammed, and what you need to do is make a payment, so we can see your genuine banking details."

Unfortunately, the victim paid out money to the scammers before realising he had been tricked.

READ MORE - Call for vigilance after fake HMRC calls

The amount they are looking to take is typically around £200," Ms Watson said.

Last year, officers warned about another similar scam, where callers claimed to be from HMRC and said the person targeted owed payment for a fine, threatening they could be arrested.

Trading Standards has advised people to hang straight up when they receive a call of this type, and not to give any personal or banking details.

If you need advice after receiving a call, call your bank or phone company, but look up the correct number separately. If possible use a different phone, or wait several minutes before dialling, as sometimes, even after you hang up, the scammers can still stay on the line.

People receiving a scam call are also asked to report it to Action Fraud.

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