Pensioner living in fear of unwanted ‘phone calls

AN ARBROATH pensioner has been plagued with a series of unwanted telephone calls over the last few days, the latest of which are becoming more and more threatening.

The lady, who decided to remain anonymous, is a resident at Andy Stewart Court.

She explained that she recently received a telephone call during which the male caller informed her that she was due a rebate on her government old age pension which, he said, had been underpaid.

However, to get the money, she had to go to the Abbeygate and take out £300 worth of vouchers from a machine sited there. He impressed upon her not to tell the sales assistant what she was doing.

The lady told the Herald: “He must think I am simple in the head. I realised right away that it was a scam and there was no way I was going to co-operate.”

At the beginning, the caller said someone would visit the lady’s home to collect the voucher, and this person would have identification to reassure her everything was as it should be.

However, once he realised that the voucher was not to be forthcoming, the timbre of his voice changed and he became more threatening.

The lady went on: “You would think that once he realised I was not going to play ball, he would move on to someone else, but he keeps ringing. I have had well over a dozen ‘phone calls and now just do not answer my telephone at all.”

Angus Council said: “Our trading standards officers are aware of a scam which has been operating in other areas, which involves the fraudster persuading a person to purchase UKASH vouchers and then hand them over in return for a cheque of a larger value which will subsequently prove to be worthless.

“The UKASH voucher scheme itself is, of course, perfectly legitimate and used by many people to purchase goods. UKASH vouchers are widely available in Angus at outlets such as Paypoint.

“Older householders, or those  who have previously  been victims of crime can contact  Angus Care and Repair who will be able to supply safety items such as door chains to assist with security.

“To contact Angus Care and Repair, telephone 01307 463232 or e-mail  

“For advice from trading standards, contact  Angus Council ACCESSLine on 08452 777 778.”

Inspector Adrian Robertson, Arbroath, said: “I can confirm that your informant previously spoke with an operator in our Force Control Centre and was given appropriate advice regarding receiving persistent telephone calls.

“She did not state that the calls were of a menacing or threatening nature.

“An officer visited her this evening (Tuesday) and provided further advice to her regarding contacting her service provider to have the offending telephone number blocked in order to prevent continued calls.

“I can confirm that local officers are making inquiries in order to trace the origin of the calls being received and depending on the outcome of that enquiry, further action may be taken.”