I don't usually forward scam information as usually they are spoofs or mis-informed, but this one has come from my local constabulary (the warning, not the scam itself of course :) ). This certainly has an air of plausibility about it - I particularly like the notion of getting the victim to hang up and pick up the phone again, while all the time the caller holds the line busy, in order to trick them into thinking the line is now dead.
Not everyone realises, but this is in fact a feature of the BT Phone Network - a phone line is held open for up to 2 minutes, even when the called party hangs up. This allows a called person to hang up one phone, go to another room, pick up the phone there and carry on the conversation. Of course, these days with mobiles and cordless phones not many people need this feature - but in the "olden days" it could be very handy!
Here's the message from Cambs police.
----- Forwarded Message -----
Norfolk Police have alerted a BT collection service scam
which is believed to be a National fraud.
The details are as follows:-
A professional sounding adult male phones the victim (victims chosen are
listed in the phone directory) stating he is calling from BT Collection
Service because money is owed to BT.
The caller states that the (victims) bank has stopped the Direct Debit and
that money is immediately owed, failure to pay will result in their phone
being cut off. The amount that is allegedly ‘owed’ has been less than £10
(typically £9 ).
The caller requires the victims credit card details so that payment can be
made. The caller also ‘proves’ he can easily cut off the victims phone
telling them to hang up and try dialling out, it is then believed he puts
them on ‘hold’ so that the line is still connected (but sounds dead) but of course the victim believes their line has been disconnected.
The offender then phones them back and again attempts to obtain their
credit card detail.
The main object is not the £9 but is to obtain the credit card data. The
caller is described as very professional sounding.
Please be aware and do not give any personal details out over the phone.