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