RETIRED civil servant Jim Hussey is warning the public about a suspected phone scam that appears to be targeting residents across Swindon.
Mr Hussey, 70, of Eastleaze, listened to a recorded message offering money on Wednesday and believes unsuspecting callers are put through to a premium phone line if they press either number – with no cash at the end of the line.
He intends to report the possible scam – in which residents are told to press five to receive a £1,000 “bonus” or nine to unsubscribe – to Swindon Council’s trading standards department but wants to warn other members of the public, particularly the elderly, so they do not rack up a huge telephone bill.
Mr Hussey said: “The start of the message was missing so there was no indication who it was from. It started with the words: ‘Received £1,000 payment to pay in the next six to 12 weeks.
“Press five to confirm your bonus and to begin the process. If you’ve already pursued your payment, press nine to unsubscribe.
“This message is urgent and will be dealt with immediately. Press five now.’”
Mr Hussey said he simply deleted the message, which was spoken by a woman with a north-eastern English accent, from his answer phone,but fears others could be fooled.
“I think people should be warned because there have been several reports in the Adver over the years where people, mainly elderly people, have got taken in by this,” said Mr Hussey.
He said he normally receives a suspect phone call about evry two weeks.
“They phone a number or have to press for a competition and find they’re paying hundreds on their phone bills.
“This one is different to what I’ve heard before.
“It usually features holidays to America. The cash prize is different, plus the chance to unsubscribe, which I’m sure also lead to a premium rate number.”
A Swindon Council spokesman said: “Our trading standards team have not had any recent calls about this, although calls of this nature are usually received by Consumer Direct.
“If people in Swindon do receive calls they believe are fraudulent, they can receive advice from Ofcom or the Information Commissioner’s Office if necessary.”