A telephone scam targeting members of the Hindi-speaking Asian community was uncovered recently thanks to a clever elderly couple – however people are being urged to remain vigilant.
The scam, which involved a false lottery win, is believed to be based in India because the calls are made in Hindi.
The phone calls which came from a 09234 number were initially spoken in Hindi though if the target didn’t understand the scammer would then switch to English.
The calls involved a scammer who claimed to represent a number of major UK companies saying that they had won a lottery prize of £50,000.
To release the funds targets would either have to call a premium 070 or transfer up to £375 through Western Union.
The scam was dealt a major blow when the pensioners who were targeted became suspicious and informed the police.
The Thornton Heath couple used 1471 caller ID to discover the number after receiving a phone call and passed it on to the police.
While 070 and 09234 are legitimate telephone prefixes, both are known to be used by scammers with Action Fraud receiving 2,600 calls about fraud from these numbers.
Calls to these numbers can cost up to 65p per minute with additional setup charges while calls from mobile phones can be up to £1.50 per minute.
Council Chairman Tony Newman advised residents: “It’s important to stress that residents should never respond to unsolicited demands for money of personal information, even if tempted by the promise of some reward, such as a prize, inheritance or good fortune.”
“ If such a call is received then hang up, and then, if you have the facility, dial 1471 to note the caller ID and report this to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or online at www.actionfraud.police.uk.”