Warning after widow contacted by phone scammer

The police have warned people to beware of fraudulent phone calls after a Lerwick woman was contacted by a scammer pretending to be from a bank.

Jennifer Watt warned people to be extra vigilant after her mother Effie was called by a man called Harold Duvall who purported to be from a company called Metrobank MS Ltd.

Mr Duvall said that Mrs Watt’s late husband James, who died two years ago, had £152,000 in shares that had to be claimed before they were confiscated by the government. He had sounded “very plausible” and even gave an account number for his bank.

But Ms Watt, who had taken the phone from her mother, smelled a rat when the huge value of the shares was mentioned. Her suspicions grew when Mr Duvall wanted a bank account number and sort code from Mrs Watt as well as a “release fee” which would be necessary to prevent the authorities seizing the money.

She said: “It was a new one on me, like something out of Heir Hunters, and I think he was trying to pass himself off as an heir hunter.”

When Ms Watt asked for company details and a phone number, the man hung up.

Householders who receive any fraudulent calls are being urged to report them to police on 101 to help the force build an idea of the type of scam and who the cheats are targeting. People should also report the matter to trading standards. Bank details, credit card numbers or PINs should never been given over the phone to strangers.

More advice is available on the Police Scotland website.


Add Your Comment
  • David Spence

    • March 5th, 2015 14:02

    The increase in ‘ cold call ‘ phonecalls has grown hugely over the last 5 or so years.

    Probably one of the best ones is some foreign person (usually from India) reporting to be from the Microsoft Technical Team (where I instantly disconnected and switch off the power to the modem) saying that your computer has been infected with viruses, trojans, adaware etc etc and it is their job to help you get rid on them.

    I had one guy on the phone for over 50 minutes, due to myself persistently asking them to repeat their instructions (and wanting to waste as much of their time as possible, as well as doing nothing). Any way, to cut short a very long conversation of repeated instructions, I asked him ‘ What was he selling? ‘. It transpired (although they say they are not selling anything too you) that they, allegedly, install antivirus and anti-adaware software onto your computer and they sting you for a charge……………this is where they want to know your bank or credit card details. By this time, I was getting exasperated (I suspect they were preprogrammed robots with instructions in front of them lol) and eventually hung up on them.

    I also received another cold call phonecall from a lady offering me to get rid of cold call calls for a lovely fee of £70.00. I said to her ‘ Do you realise the irony of your call ‘ lol Needless to say, I thanked her, and hung up.

  • John Hilbert

    • March 5th, 2015 16:14

    I am with American based international genealogical heirship firm, Heir Hunters International. No reputable heir finding firm will ever ask for your bank information or, for that matter, ask you to forward to them any money whatsoever–not one single cent! Standard operating procedure is that the heir finding firm gets paid, as its fee, only when the heir or unclaimed property beneficiary receives their inheritance or property. If circumstances ultimately do not pan out and the heir does not obtain any money or property, the heir finder suffers the loss, not you. I have been an heir finder since 1987, and recently my mother suffered the same fate as Ms. Watt’s mom, but, unfortunately, the outcome was not the same. My mom gave the caller her bank information, but, shortly after the fact, my mom spoke to me about the conversation, and I was able to alert her bank. No harm, no foul.

  • ian r selbie

    • March 6th, 2015 16:01

    as soon as they say why they are calling and I don’t want their call I tell them to hold the line and put the phone next to the tv/ radio and funnily enough they hang up and never call back


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