New phone scam threat

People are being warned about a new, more threatening type of phone scam - after an Exmouth woman was targeted with abusive calls.

The 57-year-old woman, who does not want to be identified, says she received a phone call from a man asking to speak to someone she did not know.

When she explained this, the caller demanded to be given the woman’s personal details, saying he needed to update his records.

When she refused, the caller became aggressive and refused to get off the line, even after the woman had hung up.

The caller eventually ended the call after the woman threatened to call the police. But, since then, she has received several silent calls and an abusive answerphone message.

When the woman informed the police about the calls, they told her to try phoning the number back and she discovered a recorded message, saying the number was available for sale.

Although the number had a London dialling code, the woman believes the caller was from overseas. Police say foreign criminals are starting to use unregistered numbers to escape detection.

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Police sergeant Phil Godfrey said: “There is a general awareness among the public that internet sites aren’t always as they appear to be, and we now need to be cautious when receiving phone calls, because calls from what appear to be UK phone numbers may not actually be from this country.

“An increasing number of UK telephone numbers are being used by people abroad, as it puts them effectively beyond the reach of UK law enforcement.”

Anyone who receives a suspicious call should inform the police on (08452) 777444.