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Festive phone scam warning.

Residents across Birmingham have been plagued by festive phone scam calls in the middle of the night.

People from Sutton Coldfield, Harborne, Edgbaston and many other areas were woken at about 4am on Tuesday morning with a prerecorded message.

On the message a male voice says: 'Ho! Ho! Ho! I am Father Christmas and you have won a holiday in Lapland'.

Victims are then apparently told to dial 9 for an address which they can write off to claim their alleged prize.

Peter Wall, former head of Wragge & Co, and now a director of a manufacturing company , said he, his brother and his mother were all woken separately by the calls.

Mr Wall said he thought the call was from the nursing home where his elderly father lives. His mother, who is in her 80s, also received one.

'This is nothing other than a scam and it is appalling that people are being disturbed at three o'clock and four o'clock in the morning,' he said.

'It is especially frightening for the elderly. Telephone calls at such a time are always upsetting and this is a gross intrusion into everybody's privacy. It is sickening.'

Rob Dwight, of the Independent Committee for the Supervision of Standards of Telephone Information Services, said they had received more than 200 calls from the public about the scam.

ICSSTIS regulates premium line services, which start with the 090 prefix.

'While we have had no reports that people are asked to call a premium line, there have been concerns that if people called press '9' they are connected to a premium line. I must stress you can only be connected to a premium line if you actually dial it,' he said.

'Something people need to learn is that if you have not entered a competition you cannot have won anything. It is that simple.'
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Dec 24, 2004
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