Scammers targeting phone lines in Honiton to plunder hundreds of pounds

PUBLISHED: 15:00 13 April 2018 | UPDATED: 09:42 18 April 2018

PCSO Darren England says scammers are threatening residents who don't hand over their cash.

PCSO Darren England says scammers are threatening residents who don't hand over their cash.

Archant

'Professional scammers' are targeting phone lines in Honiton in an attempt to plunder hundreds of pounds from residents' bank accounts.

The frightening method, in which the callers purport to be from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has been revealed by a Honiton PCSO, who was targeted twice last week.

PCSO Darren England says several residents have been forced into a panic after they received threats for not handing their cash over.

In the calls, an automated voice says they had been trying to get hold of the receiver regarding ‘legal action’ - and should ‘press one’ to speak to someone.

Mr England said: “I received a phone call from an ‘020’ number on Saturday. On the Friday night, I had actually dealt with two jobs involving these scam calls.”

Mr England said he did not entertain the call and hung up - and is urging future victims to follow suit.

He revealed two people in Honiton had already been targeted by the scammers, who demanded varying sums of money - £800 and £1,600.

Mr England said: “When these people refused, the scammers threatened that they would call the police on them and a warrant for their arrest would be put out.

“People are more scared of these calls because the scammers are purporting to be from the HMRC, not PPI or other services.”

Mr England said another victim was forced to rush to her bank after a caller threatened to close her accounts because she had refused to hand money over.

He added: “There have been a lot of reports in east and mid Devon in regards to these calls.

“People are extremely frightened when the callers say they are from HMRC - this is scaring people into pressing one.

“They need to understand HMRC will not just phone you up and ask for money - they have proper procedures in place.

“These people are professional scammers, they know what they are doing and they are very good at it. They want your details so they can start pressing you to get your money.

“Do not engage in conversation with these people - hang up.

“These people are not only using international numbers, they are using cheap pay-as-you go mobile phones as well.”

Anyone who believes they have been targeted should contact Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre.

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