CONMEN are swindling unsuspecting Cambridgeshire residents out of hundreds of pounds off through a telephone scam. Cambridgeshire Trading Standards officers and the police are warning people to beware of the scam in which a man, claiming to be from BT, th

CONMEN are swindling unsuspecting Cambridgeshire residents out of hundreds of pounds off through a telephone scam.

Cambridgeshire Trading Standards officers and the police are warning people to beware of the scam in which a man, claiming to be from BT, threatens to cut the phone line saying the bill has not been paid.

One householder who was targeted said: "He demanded payment immediately of £31 by credit card or it would be £118 to reconnect at a later date.

"Obviously the man realised I didn't believe his story so offered to demonstrate that he was from BT.

"He told me to hang up and try phoning someone, saying he would disconnect my phone. And he did. My phone was dead - no engaged tone, nothing - until he phoned me again."

When the man called back he asked the householder to make a credit card payment.

However, he refused and phoned the police.

"The police said I wasn't the first to contact them," he said. "The fact that the phone does go off would probably convince some people it's real."

David Broughton, operations manager at Cambridgeshire Trading Standards, said the scam had taken place "sporadically" across the county.

"Some people are being sucked in by this as the caller claims to be able to cut-off the phone line when in fact he is putting the caller on mute and remaining on the line so that it rings dead.

"If you get someone asking for money over the phone please ignore it."

Cambridgeshire police have issued a warning about the scam via their E-Cops e-mail alert system to try and stop resident's falling for the con.

A spokesman for BT said they never carry out disconnections during a call to prove the identity of their employees.

He added: "If there is any doubt at all, a BT employee will be able to give the customer their employee ID number and an 0800 number to call, where the customer can check that they are who they say they are. The customer can also check their identity by calling 0800 800150.