OAP's trauma as scammer threatens his arrest over £4.5k 'tax bill'
The daughter of a pensioner who almost fell foul of a heartless telephone scammer has warned others to be aware of suspicious callers.
Ursula Hockley said her father Patsy Hume (78) was terrified he was going to be arrested if he didn't pay £4,500 to the crook, who told him it was the taxman calling.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Mrs Hockley said: "I had rung my father to say I was on my way to his house and I knew right away something was wrong by his tone on the phone.
"He told me he had a call from the Inland Revenue telling him he owed them £4,500 dating back to 1971 and that the police were coming to arrest him.
"I drove straight to his house and when I got there he was standing at the door, shaking and white as a sheet.
"He explained to me that the caller tried to get him to pay £4,500, and when daddy told him he didn't have that much money he then told daddy he would take £3,000, or else the police would call and arrest him."
Her father was so frightened at that stage he hung up the phone.
She added: "I have no doubt if daddy had £4,500 he would have paid it.
"We soon realised it was a scam and were able to reassure daddy there was no way the police were going to arrest him.
"But it showed me how vulnerable people like my father are. The caller was very plausible and obviously would have known he was talking to an elderly man.
"But he clearly didn't care as all he was interested in was getting money.
"Even though we have tried to warn our parents about the need to be careful about who they open the door to, this has shown us how vulnerable older people are by just answering the phone."
She reported the incident to the police.
In response PSNI Chief Superintendent Simon Walls said people should always guard against such criminals.
"Fraudsters will go to any length to scam people out of money," he said.
"The ultimate aim for scammers is always the same - to steal your money.
"In this instance it was reported the fraudster claimed to be from HMRC and threatened the person with arrest if they didn't pay them money. This is not a new scam.
"Thankfully, in this instance, this scam was spotted and no money was lost.
"If you have received a call where you think it's a scam, then please report it to Action Fraud via www.actionfraud.police.uk or by phoning 0300 123 2040, or call police on the non-emergency number 101."
Further advice and information can also be obtained by visiting www.nidirect.gov.uk/scamwiseni or the ScamwiseNI Facebook page @scamwiseni.