Scammer tries to trick Harborough wedding dress shop owner out of £7,000

She was shaken up but refused to give him any money - and now wants to warn others

Tuesday, 11th May 2021, 12:30 pm

A wedding dress shop owner in a Harborough village was shocked to get a call from a “posh” scammer demanding almost £7,000.

Debbie Taylor was told that if she didn’t pay up straight away she would be dragged into court for running up a big tax bill – and that would cost her £12,000.

Debbie, who owns Wedding Belles in Kibworth Beauchamp, is now warning people across Harborough to slam the phone down if they are targeted by the highly-convincing crook.

Debbie, who owns Wedding Belles in Kibworth Beauchamp, is now warning people across Harborough to slam the phone down if they are targeted by the highly-convincing crook.

“This horrible man left me very shaken-up. I just felt sick that he was threatening me there and then and demanding I hand over thousands of pounds to him,” said Debbie, whose thriving High Street shop celebrated its 30th anniversary in Kibworth last September.

“Thank God I didn’t believe him and he didn’t get a penny out of me.

“But these evil criminals will keep hammering away at other business people, shopkeepers and individuals.

“They only need to fool one poor victim to pinch a lot of money.

“So please be on your guard and don’t believe a word this man says to you.”

She said the smooth-talking swindler called her on her shop’s landline at 1.15pm one afternoon.

“He rang up totally out of the blue.

“He came up as a private call and I was a bit dubious at first but I thought I’d better answer it,” said Debbie, of Desborough.

“This man came on and asked to talk to the owner Deborah Taylor.

“That was a bit odd because I always go by Debbie.

“He said he was a bailiff and enforcement officer called Steven Jones.

“He said I was due in court at 2pm that afternoon.

“This man claimed I hadn’t been paying my tax and owed the HMRC a lot of money.

“He said they’d sent me a lot of letters but I hadn’t replied.

“He offered to go in and fight my corner for me – and gave me the name of a website where I could find him.

“He said he was working for Cardiff County Court,” said Debbie.

“He wanted me to pay him £6,995 on the spot.

“And he warned that if I didn’t and I was taken to court then I’d end up having to fork out £12,000.

“I was shocked and felt sick.

“But I told him that I didn’t owe the HMRC a penny.

“He started to get tetchy and eventually rang off.

“But he had a very posh English voice and was initially very polite.

“He knew my name, my husband’s name and even our home address,” warned Debbie.

“He also gave me the address of a legitimate website and he posed as a real official.

“So it’s all very sinister and highly convincing.

“And the worst thing is that there will be shopkeepers and other businessmen and women who do owe tax after the terrible pandemic year we’ve just had to endure.

“So please slam the phone down straight away if this scammer or someone like him calls you.

“I’m sure that the HMRC would never contact you like this over the phone anyway,” said Debbie.

“Don’t entertain him for a second – and certainly don’t be duped into handing over any cash.”

If you are targeted by a scammer or fall victim to a criminal con you should immediately contact anti-fraud agency Action Fraud here:

https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/