TIM DREW: Be vigilant – highlighting telephone scam bids

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TELEPHONE hoaxes have featured prominently in this column before, and have been highlighted as part of Scams Awareness Month, which draws to a close on Saturday.

One West Sussex county councillor, who almost fell victim to phone scammers, has spoken out about his experience in support of the campaign.

A woman purporting to be a police officer from Paddington police station phoned to inform him that they had someone in custody who had been arrested and found in possession of a number of cloned bank cards, one of which was his.

The woman then insisted he contact his bank. Though he dialled the correct number, all he succeeded in doing was contacting the fraudsters, because they had kept the line open by not hanging up themselves.

He began the process of providing his bank details but, fortunately, stopped when the swindlers asked him for his security code.

The woman who first called then rang again – adopting an abrupt tone – demanding his bank details, thereby confirming his suspicions. He’d had a lucky escape.

This episode shows how easy it is for anybody– let alone those who might be classified as being vulnerable – to be taken unawares, which has led to a call for elderly, vulnerable people to be provided with free call-blocking equipment to protect them from scam calls.

You can obtain advice and report scams, including those affecting third parties whom you know to have been conned, to trading standards through the Citizens Advice consumer service, by calling 08454 040506 or via online support.

n The Broadwater Neighbourhood Panel will meet between 7pm and 8pm on Monday, June 2, at Broadwater Parish Church, in Broadwater Road. On Tuesday, June 3, PCSO Sally Haggis will be available for a chat between 11am and 11.30am, outside Spar Stores in Heene Road, Worthing. Finally, PCSO Shauna Bowen’s surgery will be held on Thursday, June 5, between 11.30am and 12.30pm, at Findon Valley Library, in Lime Tree Avenue.