/ 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?

John R says:
12 June 2020

“The card” mentioned in this article, but there is NO indication what type of card or why a card was necessary!!!

irene bateman says:
12 June 2020

I get calls from what sounds like an Indian call centre regarding a “problem with” … varies. I now find that if I say “does your mother know you’re a criminal?” the calls stop

Diane says:
13 June 2020

I like it :0) Will have to remember that one.

I am constantly being advised that my contract with Kaspersky is due to end within days. As I no longer have a contract with them I assume that this is a scam of some kind. Am I right to believe this?

Tim Robinson says:
12 June 2020

I’ve tried calling HSBC too get transferred to the relevant department many times. It takes a long time and rarely succeeds

Scams are getting more devious and intimidating especially targeting the elderly and vulnerable. TV licensing for the over 75s is now the most persistent scam. Much more must be done by banks and other organisations to stop the scammers. Technology can do it. It needs the will and spending money. Walter

Jenny says:
12 June 2020

I have had numerous calls like this about Amazon Prime. I just put the phone down. It is one of the most persistent scams I have been bothered with. Most of them tend to die out after a while but this one keeps on going. Unfortunately, that suggests that it is successful in scamming people.

Foolishly my wife replied to a text message that was meant to come from HMRC about a tax refund which must have asked for certain details ie bank or card which she must have given, several days later we had a call from a foreign sounding guy who professed to be from the banks fraud team and quoted certain things which sounded correct, he then said he would send an authorisation code which took a little while to come through due to our remoteness, I was getting a little cautious by this time so we rang the bank who said they thought it was a scam which it was so we hung up, obviously if we had given him the authorisation code he could have got into her account and transferred any money from it, this was very cleverly carried out and almost fooled us, without sounding racist he sounded Nigerian or similar which is where a lot of these scams originate from, my wife feels foolish and embarrassed for giving out her details but she’s a very honest lady and is not a suspicious old git like myself, internet banking is great but one has to be more wary than before of writing a cheque out where one knew where it was going.

Rasuole says:
12 June 2020

Since the lockdown started, I’ve been bombarded by these callers. They introduce themselves with various unheard-of or non-existent company names, usually speak with harsh accents and do not allow you to get a word in.
One of them told me that a car accident was reported from my phone. I’ve never even had a car!
Another caller referred to me by my nickname, that I only use for online selling/buying platforms, such as Gumtree. Here’s where they harvest our personal information!

John Kenny says:
12 June 2020

My polite response is that I never do any business over the telephone and since they obviously know who I am and where I am they should write to me. Nothing ever arrives!
My less polite response is – “Pull the other one!” and variations thereof.

I received an email supposedly from Microsoft saying i had unusual signing in activity and asked to click on the box to go to the page to see if it was you.
I deleted the email and entered my Microsoft account from the official website and noticed there were failed attempts to sign into my account using my name but wrong password from, Russia, Korea, Rumanai and other countries.
Fortunately all failed but it is worrying.
Microsoft says to keep all updates up to date as it is a helpful defense.

I still get the occasional “it seems you had a car accident that wasn’t your fault” call. Without saying yes or no, I ask “How do you acquire that sort of information?” This usually causes them to hang up.

If I have the spare time, I usually agree and tell them that I lost two arms and a leg and that the final outcome was fatal – I died. Can they help me make a claim. Sometimes you can hear their primitive brains working on this before they hang up.

Paul says:
12 June 2020

My annoying problem,is the calls to my phone from unrecognised nos,both to my landline and mobile.The scammers ring my phone,then ring off,with no message,and the no is untraceable,also on receiving a call if you answer beware.If they ask “Am I talking to the house owner?”,never answer YES, because you will have verbally agreed to sign up for some service,you will know nothing about,for which you will be charged

Dave Richardson says:
12 June 2020

I have had the Amazon prime electronic voice asking that i press one to cancel my request for it! One i have had three times now: : ‘Hi its John (or Paul) just returning your call regarding our windows’. Thats a new one, watch out for it. English too, but using usual many call contact until someone answers. I thought that was illegal in the UK?

Pete steward says:
12 June 2020

I used to get lots of “we are calling about the accident you were involved in” I just play along and make up all sorts of rubbish about what had happened who was hurt. The longer it goes on the more ridiculous my story becomes. My family loved it as they could not believe anybody would think I was telling the truth. My record was 22 minutes, I quite miss them.

I never answer any phone calls straight away, they go to my answering machine. “I’m sorry that no one is available to take your call just now. Please leave your name & number after the beep.” Unwanted callers just end the call. Family & friends know the drill and after 10 seconds or so they self identify. When I’m calling businesses or new numbers I explain the drill. No ID no response

My landline sends all calls to answerphone unless the number is in the phone’s address book. That way all spam callers rings off but genuine callers leave a message. And friends automatically bypass the answerphone and the phone rings. Its a BT 8610.

I bought a BT Call Blocking phone nearly two years ago and I no longer am troubled by scam or nuisance calls. It is so liberating.

Since I bought a BT call blocking phone nearly two years ago my scam/nuisance calls have dwindled to zero. Callers don’t want to announce themselves and wait for me to accept the calls so I’m rarely disturbed.

I have never understood why the law does not allow our telephone service provider, eg. BT, to tell us who has just called us (real telephone number, company name & address). If we could get this information we could assess the caller for ourselves and/or pass on the details to the police

Ah Ian, very good question. Since the telephone company MUST know who it is, because a lot of the scams involve sucking you in to a premium rate line for which only the service provider can bill you, or they can trace the lines. Why aren’t they liable for the service provision?

Cealfundis says:
14 June 2020

To foil the “open-line” scam, if you are asked to end the suspect call and ring your bank for confirmation, instead ring someone whose voice you know, a friend son or daughter.
If you get somebody else, treat it as a scam.