POLICE have shared a warning about a 'devious' phone scam that tries to trick credit card details from BT customers.

The con reportedly demands money for an unpaid bill and offers 'proof' that the caller is from the phone company by seemingly disconnecting the phone line.

Issuing the warning via the Thames Valley alert service, an administrator for the Neighbourhood Watch Network in Oxford said: "I receive many scams but this seems a particular devious one.

"Please circulate, especially to vulnerable people."

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Quoting the victim of the scam, the post explained: "I received a phone call from BT, informing me that he was disconnecting me because of an unpaid bill.   

"He demanded payment immediately of £31 or it would be £118 to re-connect at a later date.   

"The guy wasn't even fazed when I told him I was with Virgin Media, allegedly VM have to pay BT a percentage for line rental."

The statement described how the man had an 'African accent' and said his name was John Peacock, then invited the victim to call 0800-080-0152.

It added: "Obviously, the fellow realized I didn't believe his story, so offered to demonstrate that he was from BT.

"I asked how and he told me to hang up and try phoning someone - he would disconnect my phone to prevent this. AND HE DID!!   

"My phone was dead - no engaged tone, nothing - until he phoned me again. Very pleased with himself, he asked if that was enough proof that he was with BT.

"I asked how the payment was to be made and he said credit card, there and then. 

"I said that I didn't know how he'd done it, but I had absolutely no intention of paying him, I didn't believe his name or that he worked for BT. He hung up.

"I dialled 1471 - number withheld - I phoned his fictitious 0800 number - not recognised.

"So I phoned the police to let them know.

"I wasn't the first. It's only just started apparently, but it is escalating.

"Their advice was to let as many people as possible know of this scam.

"The fact that the phone does go off would probably convince some people it's real, so please make as many friends and family aware of this."

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The victim added that the phone line being 'cut off' was 'so simple that it will certainly fool many.'

Their statement added: "How is it done? This is good but not that clever.   

"He gave the wrong number - it should have been 0800-800-152 which takes you through to BT Business.   

"The cutting off of the line is very simple, he stays on the line with the mute button on and you can't dial out - but he can hear you trying. 

"When you stop trying, he cuts off and immediately calls back. You could almost be convinced.

"This is not about getting the cash as this would not get past merchant services - it is all about getting the credit card details which include the security number, to be used for larger purchases."