Axe Valley: Women wise to telephone scams

TWO Axe Valley women have scuppered telephone scammers after being alerted to the dangers.

TWO Axe Valley women have scuppered telephone scammers after being alerted to the dangers.

Tracey Fenton, who works as a housing support officer in Axminster, knew better than to give bank details over the phone thanks to a police community message.

And Mary Lewis, of Bag End Bags in Seaton, was wise to a caller who claimed to be offering a free mobile, after listening to the Jeremy Vine show. Tracey, 43, who lives in Chardstock but works for the Supported Housing Project at Longragg Court, said she had a call threatening to cut her phone connection if she did not pay a bill - just three days after the police warning.

She said: "The caller said they were from BT and I had a debt of �76.48. Obviously I know I haven't got a debt and I didn't panic as I had this [community] message.

"I said 'go ahead and cut me off, I don't believe you're from BT'. He got quite aggressive and asked if I preferred to be cut off rather than pay. When I said I think you're involved in a scam, he hung up."

She said she may have been more vulnerable had it not been for the warning and recommended the messaging service.

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She said: "Without the message from the police, I could have been quite scared.

"The caller was all nice to begin with but quite nasty towards the end when I wouldn't pay.

"We live in quite an isolated area and with the community messaging we get to know about local crimes and it gives you more peace of mind."

Ms Lewis had a call from someone claiming to be from Three Mobile.

When she refused to give out her bank details to secure a 'free' phone he called her a 'silly woman'.

She said: "I said I wanted to speak to his supervisors - and he came back, speaking in the same voice. It was pathetic and ill thought out. Fortunately, I'm not a silly woman.

"But it could be problem as they opening phrase is 'we're ringing to check if you got your free phone'.

"And there's a one out of seven chance that the caller is a Three Mobile customer."

Axminster neighbourhood team leader Sergeant Pete Trudgeon said Tracey's response showed the benefits of the messaging service.

He said: "Tracey is only one of many people who say how great the service is.

"If, like Tracey, you received a telephone call threatening to cut you off, when would you realise it was a scam? Before or after they took your money?"

For more information on community messaging, leave a message for contact on (01297) 34089.