/ Money, Scams

Scam watch: beware suspect caller requests

A suspicious phone call followed a halted bank transfer for this member of the public. Here’s why you should always be wary of unexpected contact.

When a member of the public recently tried to transfer some money out of an HSBC account to another bank, the transaction was halted behind the scenes.

They later received a call from a raucous-sounding call centre, claiming that they were from HSBC’s payment check team and asked for a part of their postcode and date of birth.

This understandably set off alarm bells, so they ended the call and contacted HSBC directly via its official channels.

See our guide to phone scams

It couldn’t confirm whether the unsolicited call had been genuine, so it cancelled the card as a precaution.

They then made a formal complaint and received a £50 goodwill payment, as well as a sympathetic response from HSBC.

But why couldn’t it confirm or explain the caller’s authenticity?

Always be suspicious

HSBC didn’t explain why it couldn’t verify the first call and had to cancel the card, but a spokesperson did say that it will:

“Never ask a customer for their full Pin or online banking codes like a secure key or password”

It added that if you’re unsure you’re talking to a real bank representative, to ‘call a known HSBC telephone number (such as the one on the back of your bank card), and request to be transferred to the appropriate department.

To this, we would add that you absolutely need to be suspicious of any contact claiming to be from the bank, police or other authority that may be seeking your information.

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With any unexpected contact out of the blue, hang up. Take five minutes to collect yourself, then try to verify what you’ve been told through trusted channels.

Have you received a similar call following a bank transfer? How did you deal with it?

Nigel says:
17 June 2020

The Banks really haven’t got their act together on this topic of calling. We had a call where the said they wished to discuss a cheque. We asked them to prove who was calling before we would answer anything. They declined, so we did as well. When we asked in the Barclays branch, how could this be so useless, the teller agreed it was never going to work but that was the bank’s process!! It was apparently a genuine call!

Carol maddams says:
7 September 2020

I received a call ten minutes after l had transferred £300 from one bank to another. The caller on a mobile number said he was from the bank and asked me to confirm l had transferred 300 from my account. He then said he needed my sort code to stop the money being sent fraudulently to China. I refused to give any information and said l would visit the bank. I disconnected the call. He rang me back said he was trying to help and asked which branch l was with. I repeated my response of not giving info out over the phone and disconnected the call. Both banks where informed but l now won’t use my online banking for fear of them getting into my accounts.