/ 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.

Scam call warning: Amazon Prime ‘renewal’

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?


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.

The Amazon scam is a serious nuisance, I get at least two calls each week, why can’t it be stopped. I think I am pretty careful but I was caught by the O2 scam, the message came at a time when I had just changed my phone so I suppose I was susceptible. Fortunately I realised soon afterwards that I had been scammed and cancelled my card. Fighting this is an endless task but we have to keep on.

I received a call yesterday from someone who said he was an energy adviser in my area and that he assumed I was the owner occupier? He put it to me in question form, a clever tactic used by salesmen that would presumably guarantee him an answer and hopefully engage me in conversation with him. I responded by asking him first who he was before answering his question and there was an immediate click and the line went dead.

These people are invading your privacy and your space. Judging by the flood of comments on this topic, scamming has now reached epidemic proportions which is adding to the anxiety and fear already experienced by the COVID-19 virus.

The telephone was once looked upon as a means of contacting friends, family and domestic/utility/emergency services, but it has now become an instrument of fear and dread as to who is on the other end of the line with life changing bad news.

So until the telecommunication companies, banks, and financial and security institutions can produce a way of restricting this malpractice, the only solution seems to be to treat each and every phone call with suspicion, unless you know the person calling and recognise the number in the caller information window.

Never talk to anyone purporting to be from a bank, credit/debit card company or any other financial organisation and perhaps, more importantly, don’t engage in any conversation with them.

This is your private telephone, your home your privacy and your space, you are paying for the use of it and you are the one in charge of it.