Elderly carer targeted in BT phone scam hits out at con artists as he issues warning

Paul Shaer in his home. Picture: Polly Hancock

Paul Shaer in his home. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

“I’m not a mug” was the message from a Stamford Hill pensioner to a phone scammer who tried to con him out of £50.

Carer Paul Shaer, 71, received a call on Thursday afternoon from someone claiming he was working for BT.

He told Paul workers would be coming round the next day to install fibre-optic broadband cables and asked him to pay £50 over the phone, but Paul immediately knew something was wrong.

“I’m a carer and don’t have the time or money to learn about mobile phones or anything like that,” he told the Gazette.

“But as soon as he started speaking I was getting suspicious because if BT want to do something you always get a letter.

“He said to me older customers get charged £100 but as you’re a pensioner you only have to pay £50. I was thinking that none of this should be charged to customers.

“He wanted me to pay it over the phone. Maybe they target vulnerable people but I’m not a mug – you’d have to be really foolish to fall for that.

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“I said I would never pay for anything over the phone and he said ‘you seem to know what you are doing’. But unfortunately a lot of people don’t.”

The conman, who Paul said had an Asian accent, also told him he would get a free mobile phone if he paid the money.

After Paul hung up the man called back constantly. Paul refused to answer the calls but had to keep the line open because he cares for his niece. He called the police who confirmed that the call was not genuine and put him in touch with Action Fraud.

“I do this just to give my niece a decent life,” he added. “I believe in honesty. To have all these nasty people, who could make honest incomes, try to take money from people like me without a penny to my name is not right.”

Action Fraud said its intelligence bureau was investigating the scam.

Anyone who thinks they may be being targeted by phising scams can view the Action Fraud guidelines at actionfraud.police.uk/fraud-az-vishing.