“He was quite aggressive on the phone, he wouldn’t take no for an answer,” said Sandra. “When they’re battering you on the phone your mind’s everywhere and you do get really scared.”

The man, claiming to be a High Court enforcement officer, said she owed the debt to an international internet directory company.

He threatened to come and repossess Sandra’s car later that day, at 3.20pm.

Sandra rushed home from work but by 4.30pm nobody had shown up and the man on the phone said he could reduce the payment to £2,500.

But he said she couldn’t pay by credit card, cash, or direct debit – the only way to settle the debt was via internet banking. “I was a bag of nerves by this time, I was shaking from head to toe,” said Sandra. “My nephew took over the phone call and told him to bring it on and to come down.”

The next day her husband Geoffrey Normansell reported the scam call to both Manchester Crown Court and Action Fraud, the government’s national fraud reporting centre.

Sandra hasn’t heard from her bogus caller since, but she’s worried others might be intimidated enough to fall for the scam.

It scared her enough for her to lock her doors at the hair salon the next day.

“It was just the aggressiveness, it did frighten me,” said Sandra, who informed the Federation of Small Businesses. “I just thought that other people and other businesses ought to know. There are people out there who will pay it.”