Published: 00:01, 12 September 2018
A 47-year-old woman has been struggling to sleep and fearing her home could be targeted by burglars after receiving a series of scam phone calls.
The ordeal has also made April Austen, from Beltinge, "frightened" to answer her front door.
She was at home with her husband, Richard, on Tuesday, August 28, when they were contacted by someone claiming they had won £85,000 through the People's Postcode Lottery.
The couple had signed up for the competition about two weeks before.
“The person on the phone said they were going to arrange for some cameras to come round the next day,” said Mrs Austen.
“When he got off the phone, Richard checked with the Postcode Lottery to see if it was true. Obviously it wasn’t.
“We were worried because they had my husband’s name, email address, date of birth and our address.
“We thought it was some kind of identity fraud.”
The couple were called again the following night by the same person, asking if they would be at home for cameramen to come round on the Thursday.
“We think they’re checking when we’ll be at home because they know where we live,” Mrs Austen explained.
“On this second phone call, my husband said 'well you're not really from the postcode lottery, are you?' and he asked for their telephone number.
"When my husband's out, I'm frightened to answer the door... at night I'm not sleeping that well because my mind's working overtime as I listen for every creak" - April Austen
“The chap started giving one but cut the call before he finished.
"We told the police again and the postcode lottery.”
The couple have been "on high alert" since the experience.
Mrs Austen has ordered a chain for her front door, as well as a new doorbell equipped with a camera.
She says she has also received a number of phone calls where the person at the other end of the line has hung up upon hearing her voice.
“I’m worrying it’s them checking to see if we’re in,” Mrs Austen continued.
“When my husband’s out, I’m frightened to answer the door.
“Even at night I’m not sleeping that well because my mind’s working overtime as I listen for every creak.”
Jenni Lang, a People’s Postcode Lottery spokesman, said: “We are aware that illegal scammers have used our brand to attempt to defraud innocent members of the public.
"We take these matters very seriously.
“We will never ask for a payment in order to receive your winnings, and if you don’t already play with us then you cannot win.”
She urged anyone who receives these calls to contact the People’s Postcode Lottery’s customer service team on 08081 098765.
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