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Scam watch: look out for hoax callers

Scam watch

Fraudsters can be pushy, use scare tactics and urge you to take action before you have the chance to think. That’s what happened to Which? member Sandra Truran when she was targeted by a hoax caller.

Sandra told us: When someone claiming to be from Barclays’ bank fraud squad called to say there was a payment of £1,600 on my husband John’s debit card, we supplied him with our details, including the security number on the back of the card and the Pin. He also said he was sending a courier to our house to collect the card.

After I put the phone down I became suspicious, and a quick call to Barclays confirmed it was a scam, so they cancelled the card immediately. It was quite unnerving. We locked the door in case someone turned up. We were lucky we realised, but others might not.

Our advice for Sandra

If you realise you’ve given a fraudster your bank details, contact your bank immediately.

Your bank should refund any money taken. If it doesn’t, and can’t prove you acted negligently, ask for your claim to be escalated. If your bank’s decision is final, ask for a letter of deadlock so you can then refer your claim to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). You can read more about this process on our consumer rights website.

The FOS will make a decision which is binding on the bank, but not on you, so you’re free to take your claim to court if you’re not satisfied – though think carefully whether it’s likely to be successful.

Have you experienced a similar scam? Did you fall for it? Were you able to get it resolved?


Occasionally I have received calls about financial matters. Even where I have thought them genuine, I have said that I will call back and have done so after looking up the number. The calls have proved genuine, but I do not regret being careful.


Any time someone rings me , I a ) never confirm who I am and b) make them prove they are who they say they are first. Unless I recognise the callers voice.

The only times I’ve been rung by a credit card company, I refuse to talk to them until they could do that first.

I’ve even managed to train my parents to do the same thing.

So no, I’ve never fallen for a phone scam. And the one described by Sandra , I thought, was a well known one. But obviously not.

zippy3 says:
17 April 2014

I had an automated called from Nationwide after I tried to use my card on the internet & also tried to go into my account on line. I phoned Nationwide who said they had stopped my card as suspicious payments had been made, after asking me my security questions to prove it was me. In total, £3,578 was taken payments were made to several councils for rent & I Travel Lodge payment that they knew wasn’t me as I live nowhere near the places. Nationwide are very good with things like that but it happened online & whoever it was had been caught. They say they would never ring & ask for my details & Never Never give these to people that try & do this.


Here’s an article about it back as far as 2012 … http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/police-warn-people-of-new-courier-scam-mar12

Ken says:
17 April 2014

I am a Sky customer: I received a call purporting to be from Sky wanting to confirm my address before they sent me a new Sky card. He had my address and post code, went on to ask my date of birth and then wanted to check my bank details. I pointed out that they were successfully collecting my subscription every month and terminated the call. I contacted Sky who confirmed that it was not them and that the matter would be escalated. I suggested that they put a warning message to all subscribers displayed when we first switch on; but I’ve seen nothing.

Perversely, 3-weeks later the scammers called again but rang off when challenged, number withheld.


I have received a telephone call this evening from someone purporting to be from an Investment Company acting on behalf of my bank. They correctly quoted the name of my bank and requested that I take part in a small survey. It was very difficult for me to understand the name of the company but I assured them that I had never heard of them and was definitely not interested. They promptly hung up. This is the second such call I have received in as many days from I assume was the same company.

Dave says:
17 April 2014

I have a BT 6500 phone which allows me to block calls from International , Withheld and No Caller ID numbers. This eliminates the majority of scam calls . I allow my answer machine to answer my incoming calls. My answer machine message states ” If you are a cold caller, hang up I will not deal with you” They always do hang up as even the dimmest of scam callers realise that they can’t con an answer machine and they will move on to their next potential victim.


Many cold calls are, unfortunately, recorded messages. I often find my answering machine cluttered up with them. ‘Human’ cold callers rarely leave messages.

AndyD says:
19 April 2014

It would help if the credit card companies we a bit more savvy. When someone took £1500 out of my account in Canada (!) with a cloned card, they didn’t bat an eyelid. But when I try and use the card to buy £10 of phone credit, THEN they’re suspicious and want to check it out.