Disabled Aberdeen pensioner hit by tax evasion scammers

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A disabled Aberdeen pensioner has spoken of her terror after being told during a scam call “the police will kick your door in within minutes”.

Helen Pirie, 72, was at her Kittybrewster home when she received a call to her landline, where demands for information were made – and the caller then threatened to have her home raided within half an hour.

The retired office manager said she knew soon into the conversation the man claiming to be from the tax office was fake – but he kept her on the phone for 10 minutes, becoming ever more aggressive.

“It was a terrifying experience. If they would do this to a disabled pensioner they would do it to anyone.

“My worry is they will target someone with dementia next and they will lose everything,” said Mrs Pirie, who reported the call to Action Fraud, via Police Scotland.

Police are now investigating and have urged others to be on their guard.

The pensioner, who has limited mobility due to leg problems, got the call on Friday afternoon from a man claiming to be from HMRC.

She said: “You could tell there were others there, as there were other voices in the background.

“He said he was from HMRC and there was an investigation ongoing as I had committed tax evasion and I was in a lot of trouble.

“The man then started bombarding me with questions and warned me he was talking with the police during the conversation.

“I remember him saying ‘if you do not co-operate, the police will be on their way and they will kick your door down in 30 minutes’. It was terrifying.”

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Mrs Pirie added: “He wanted to know my National Insurance number. I told him that, if he was who he claimed to be, he would be able to see it on his records.

“I didn’t tell him anything. He became annoyed because I wasn’t giving him information. He was very aggressive and kept saying ‘you need to comply or the police will arrive’.

“I had decided after three or four minutes to end the call but he was extremely persistent and the call lasted 10 minutes. He didn’t ask for money but it was headed that way.

“I get about six scam calls a month – but this one is by far the worst.

“The thought of having your home raided and police coming in is scary for elderly people. I have trouble walking and the distress to me would be unthinkable.”

Mrs Pirie said: “Please be careful when you’re speaking to strangers on the phone. Ask a relative for help and call the police if you think it is suspicious.”

A spokesman for Action Fraud, the police’s national fraud reporting centre, said: “This incident has been recorded and inquiries are being made. If you receive a suspicious cold call, end it immediately.

“Report fraud and cyber crime and receive a police crime reference number.”

An HMRC spokesman said: “If someone calls claiming to be from HMRC saying you will be arrested, that we are filing a lawsuit against you and asks for information such as your name, card or bank details, then hang up and report it to phishing@hmrc.gov.uk so we can work to take them off the network.”