Helen Mirren admits feeling humiliated after falling victim to telephone scammer

Actress Dame Helen Mirren poses for photographers at the photo call for the film 'The Good Liar' at a central London hotel, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019. (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)
Dame Helen Mirren has revealed she fell victim to a telephone scam telling her she had won a prize (AP)

Dame Helen Mirren has admitted she felt “mortified” after falling victim to a telephone scam.

The 74-year-old actress – whose latest film, The Good Liar, sees her star as a rich widow targeted by a conman, played by Sir Ian McKellen – confessed she had fallen prey to a con in which she agreed to send money to an unknown caller who told her she had won a prize.

Dame Helen told BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour: “I was scammed. I was so embarrassed about it and that's the terrible thing isn't it, when you're scammed you're so mortified that you really don't tell anyone because it's so embarrassing and humiliating.”

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She said: “It was in America and I had won a prize... They did it brilliantly. And I was suspicious.

Actors Sir Ian McKellen and Dame Helen Mirren pose for photographers upon arrival at the photo call of 'The Good Liar' at a central London hotel, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019. (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)
Sir Ian McKellen plays a con artist opposite Dame Helen Mirren in new movie The Good Liar (AP)

“They said, ‘I've got her, I've got her,’ when I picked up the phone, they said, ‘I've got her, I've got her, we're so excited to tell you you've won this prize!’

“I said, ‘Have I, how?’ The only caveat – why didn't I realise? – was, in order to get the prize, I had to send them money.

“And in return they would send – and they did, it wasn't like I didn't get anything – they sent these things, weird things like a 3D camera, I remember and a sort of fake diamond tennis bracelet, just weird things.

“But I was suspicious, and I said, ‘Where are you phoning from, the company, where is it based?’

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“‘We're based in New Orleans.’ I said, ‘Oh, what address?’ And they gave me an address, and I said, ‘Oh that's interesting, because – and it was true – I happen to be coming to New Orleans next week, so I'll pop in and see you,’ sort of thing. And they sort of went all a bit pear-shaped when I said that.”

The Oscar-winning actress said the scammers had not known she was a famous actress, admitting she could have been “anyone”.

But she added: “I was scammed, definitely.”