A BRAVE pensioner has told how she was left in tears after being hounded by sick fraudsters.

Morag Barr's ordeal began when she was called up out of the blue and told to hand over her national insurance number or face legal action.

But the threats didn't stop there.

She was called for a second time with the same warnings directed towards her, before her husband stepped in.

Morag, from Gourock, fears other people could fall prey to the criminals behind the scams and she is joining forces with the local police to raise awareness and protect people.

Retired NHS clerical assistant Morag, 71, said: "It was so upsetting.

"I was in my own living room ironing when a call came up on my phone.

"It looked like a mobile number and I thought it might be someone I knew.

"As soon as I answered it they started telling me I had to give them my national insurance number.

"They said I would lose my benefits, but the only benefit I get is my pension.

"It was all so intrusive, they were so abusive and threatening.

"I was crying and I was scared."

Morag says this is not the first time she has been targeted.

On a previous occasion a swindler tried to coax bank details out of her.

When the national insurance scam criminals tried again the following day her husband William, 69, intervened.

William, 69, said: "I took the call and told them it was a police matter and they were really nasty.

"We just want to make sure it doesn't happen to anyone else.

"These people are clever and they are organised.

"They know how to manipulate people."

After Morag wrote a letter to the police about her experience local community officers visited her at home to reassure her.

William and Morag now want to warn others by supporting a local police campaign to crack down on scams.

Chief Inspector Paul Cameron said: "I am very grateful to Mrs Barr for reporting her concerns and helping us raise awareness about this despicable type of crime.

"Unfortunately Inverclyde Police are seeing an increase in reports of online frauds with some people being scammed out of significant amounts of their hard-earned money."

Sergeant Laura Stewart says the Police Scotland website has a whole host of information to help identify and foil scams.

She said: "I would encourage people to take a look and share with friends and relatives to help raise awareness and avoid becoming a victim of fraud.

"You can also protect yourself from scam calls by fitting a call blocker,or speak to your phone provider as to what call blocking options they offer.”