Credit card – phone line scam from a friend of my sisters on Facebook

by Trefor Davies on Friday, 30 August, 2013

pirate_flag_thumbCredit card-phone line scam from a friend of my sisters on Facebook. I’ve just reposted it verbatim as it says everything it needs to say. It does make you wonder what on earth can be done to stop these. If everyone had an intelligent line that allowed you to block number withheld calls that might go some way towards sorting it though scammers would just start using a fake CLI.

An alternative might be to have a voice rec asking you who you wanted to talk to. Anything other than Tref, Anne etc would just go straight to voicemail. Schools should cover this sort of thing in lessons. It goes along with safe internet use.

Anyway the Facebook post is repeated below – the author stated that she wanted it sharing:

 

“Received a phone call from BT, informing me that he was disconnecting me because of an unpaid bill. He demanded payment immediately of £31.00 or it would be £ 118.00 to re-connect at a later date. The guy wasn’t even fazed when I told him I was with Virgin Media, allegedly VM have to pay BT a percentage for line rental! I asked the guy’s name – he gave me the very ‘English’ John Peacock with a very ‘African’ accent – & phone number -0800 0800 152.

Obviously the fellow realized I didn’t believe his story, so offered to demonstrate that he was from BT. I asked how & he told me to hang up & try phoning someone – he would disconnect my phone to prevent this. AND HE DID !! My phone was dead – no engaged tone, nothing – until he phoned me again.

Very pleased with himself, he asked if that was enough proof that he was with BT. I asked how the payment was to be made & he said credit card, there & then. I said that I didn’t know how he’d done it, but I had absolutely no intention of paying him, I didn’t believe his name or that he worked for BT.

He hung up. I dialed 1471 – number withheld I phoned his fictitious 0800 number – not recognized. So I phoned the police to let them know. I wasn’t the first! It’s only just started apparently, but it is escalating. Their advice was to let as many people as possible know of this scam.

The fact that the phone does go off would probably convince some people it’s real, so please make as many friends & family aware of this. How is it done? This is good but not that clever. He gave the wrong number – it should have been 0800 800 152 which takes you through to BT Business.

The cutting off of the line is very simple, he stays on the line with the mute button on and you can’t dial out – but he can hear you trying. (This is because the person who initiates a call is the one to terminate it). When you stop trying he cuts off and immediately calls back. You could almost be convinced!

The sad thing is that it is so simple that it will certainly fool many. By the way this is not about getting the cash as this would not get past merchant services – it is all about getting the credit card details which include the security number, to be used for larger purchases.”

The end – for now…

{ 4 comments }

james blessing (@boggits) August 30, 2013 at 10:03 am

Its actually easy to do, the remote caller can hold open a phone line just be not disconnecting the call. They wait for the target to pick up and try and make a call (the line sounds dead because they’ve muted their end, if they are really clever they could even play a recored sound to make it appear blocked), they hang up quickly and then call again.

Automatic blocking of calls won’t solve this as they could easily inject the CLI of BT into the system as many VoIP Telco’s don’t restrict CLI to those numbers registered to the calling entity. Getting these two things would be a step in the right direction

Phil Veale August 30, 2013 at 11:13 am

The best thing to teach people, in my view, is never give payment details to anyone who calls you. Always call them.

Trouble is, plenty of legitimate companies (especially those chasing bills) will call you in the same manner, so it’ll be hard to get people to do this.

Actually, thinking about it, it’s even worse…The scammer in this case can hold the line open, play fake dial tone to caller, let them think they’re dialling out again, and then answer the phone (with recorded message or such to sound like it should..with enough cleverness you can even bridge out to the real destination and just listen in)

It’s really hard to beat a smart determined scammer, I suppose all we can really hope to do is make it harder for them such that it’s not worth their while.

Somerset August 30, 2013 at 11:45 am

Changing lines to first party clear would stop the staying on the line scam.

pctech August 31, 2013 at 7:00 pm

Time for communications providers to clamp down and actually do some checks on individuals/organisations before providing service to them even if that is just a PAYG SIM.

One of the saddest things is that a proportion of people that will fall for the scam are those that can least afford the loss even if it is short term.

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