Frank got in touch with us when he received a phone call, allegedly from Microsoft, stating that his computer had been ‘hacked’. Here’s what happened next.
Back in May, Frank was phoned by scammers purporting to be from Microsoft.
They told him that criminals ‘engaged in child pornography’ had hacked his PC, and that it was his responsibility to work with ‘Microsoft’ to solve the problem.
Fake threats and intimidation
He was warned that if he ignored these requests he could be charged by the police.
Horrified, he agreed to pay £94 over the phone by card to restore his PC’s safety. But he later suspected it was a scam and hung up.
Frank immediately contacted his card provider, Nationwide, and discovered that a further £523 had been taken without his authorisation.
Nationwide refunded both sums, but then changed its mind and took the larger sum back. He wasn’t clear on why.
In almost all cases, banks should refund unauthorised transactions without argument or delay, so we contacted Nationwide.
It admitted it had made a mistake – the two refunds were processed as ‘Visa disputes’, rather than fraud cases, which gave the recipient of the money a chance to challenge the larger refund.
‘Having reviewed the matter, it’s clear the £523 was a fraudulent payment and this should have been passed to our fraud team and should never have been re-debited”
It refunded the money plus lost interest, apologised to the victim and paid £100 in compensation.
The case is a salutary lesson in ensuring you’re put through to the fraud department, rather than a general customer service line, if you are unlucky enough to experience banking fraud.
What is a ‘vishing’ scam?
This particular scam is known as ‘vishing’, in which fraudsters attempt to deceive people into believing they are speaking to a representative of another trusted company or agency.
Our guide to phone scams can help you spot a scam like this before it goes too far. Here are the top tactics to watch out for.
Have you ever been intimidated into making payments over the phone? Could you spot a vishing scam?