/ Money

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?


my partner and myself have received 3 calls today (29/10/2014).the first one was answered by my partner,and without realising it told the caller what appliances we had in the house-e.g.tv,washing machine,computer etc.we have had 2 more calls,with the caller saying that our computer was faulty,and if we gave them certain information they could fix it.i cut them off,but they rang back saying the same thing,and when i asked the callers name,and his company name,he rang off.without realising it my partner has possibly been conned.we are now very careful when we answer the phone.

@michael lynn: “we are now very careful when we answer the phone”

Yeah, these day’s we just have to be very suspicious of unknown callers – phone or front-door.
Sad really, but there’s always someone ready to rip you off.

Before I started using the answering machine to intercept all incoming calls, my typical conversation with a scammer went something like this:

“Hello, am I speaking to Mr xxxxxxxx?”.
“Who’s calling?”.
“Hello, Mr xxxxxxxx, my name is xxxxxxxx and I’m calling from xxxxxxxx regarding xxxxxxxx and I wanted to …..”.
“I’m sorry?”.
“My name is xxxxxxxx – we’re checking with homeowners in your area …..”.
“What company did you say you’re calling from?”.
“xxxxxxxx …..”.

As soon as I was even half suspicious that it was solar panels or whatever, I just hung up.
No stress or discussion – just keep the call as short as possible – under 15 secs will do.
The call duration is logged by the call-centre software – long calls go to the top of the list and will get called again.
They also get sold on to other scammers.
Short calls eventually drop of the list all together.

Chris says:
7 November 2014

Earlier this week I received a phone call from someone claiming to be from Microsoft stating that there is a scam, going round from Malasia The caller told me that it was highly likely that i was a victim of “malware”and that they would help me sort it out by asking me to log onto my computer and giving me instructions via Windows icon and r thus revealing a list of errors and risks ( In yellow and red )
It seemed to make sense but on reflection would Microsoft contact me directly?
I did allow the caller – Jason Davies to take control of my laptop and I feel that I may have made a BIG error. The caller caps me persistently stating that he needs to service my laptop and this sounds rather suspect.
Have I been conned being not the most technologically aware person? I now feel vulnerable.
Any comments/advice would be welcome.

@chris, Yes you have been conned. Based on your comments it sounds like they used the look at the windows event viewer tactic (Press the windows key and R and in the box type eventwvr and see all those entries. And FYI no malware or virus will ever write there, they’re designed to be hidden and not flag themselves up for all to see. And the event viewer is a standard part of the windows operating system.

You need to change your password on the laptop and uninstall whatever he got you to do. Based on your comments you may need to find a reputable computer person who can remove whatever they’ve put on your laptop. It may also be worth contacting the probably legit company they got you to use to give them access and if you have the code they gave you tell them, so they can revoke that code.

Good luck


Turn it off
Get it cleaned
Change all your passwords (don’t use your laptop)

I’m afraid your laptop is now vulnerable to this guy who calls himself ‘Jason Davies’.
I’m sorry (and surprised) you haven’t received more replies – I wish I’d seen your post much earlier.

william’s advice is spot on – change your password.
I’d also follow his advice to “find a reputable computer person who can remove whatever they’ve put on your laptop”.

But I’d also add – until you get it ‘cleaned’ by an expert, the safest thing to do is turn it off.

If you use your laptop for online banking, I’d contact the fraud dept of your bank.

Same goes for any sites like Amazon, where you save your passwords in your browser.

Just assume the worse – ‘Jason Davies’ now has all your login passwords.

Turn it off
Get it cleaned
Change all your passwords (don’t use your laptop)

Des Boddington says:
9 December 2014

Hi I have had a bad week of scammers on the phone. I had a call from an 03333441403 saying he was microsoft and saying that my computer needed a check up as there had been some hacking. He was Indian and could not support his request as I asked for the MD’s name the department who authorised this and their telephone number. He rang off’.
Call no two from an 009999999 number saying he was doing a Green Survey and not selling anything. He also was Indian and very pushy so I told him to go forth an multiply.
The third call was more frightening from a mobile 07874805294 from National Debt Collecters advising me two men were coming to collect £2300 on behalf of Morris Printing which I should have paid £199.95 per month since 2013. The trading standards rang this number and were convinced that it is a very unpleasant scam and asked me to inform the police. Not to open the door and ask for a high court order. If they got unpleasant I was to ring 999. Hopefully the trading standards have scared them off.
Because technology is advancing these scammers are finding more intimidating ways of getting round the problem. They are humiliating they cause upset and anxiety and I for one would like to see the government make their lives as miserable as possible, They are inhuman.

Still feeling angry over the whole thing. There is this man who tried many ways to conned me to help him very convincingly. He starts with being honest and telling me how lucky I was to have met him and soon enough he would get my card details for some council work. Then I realised he was also asking me out for a date. I politely declined. A fortnight later I found out there was more money debited than what was supposed to be. He has used my number for his personal payments! When I queried, the bank informed me my husband authorized it. I told them I had no husband but unfortunately he has all my details and twisted it like I was someone he just dumped! I have cancelled that card since.

Hi Cindy, because you’ve posted some personal information, we’ve had to tweak your post so it aligns with our commenting guidelines. Thanks, mods]

I had somebody call claiming to be somebody named Sal at Barclays at my local branch on a With Held number which later left a message on my answer phone. I already had my doubts as the initial call was With Held! I called the number anyway to find out how they have my number I knew it was fraud straight away because the guy said hello without even properly introducing himself as Barclays no official automated IVR system either! My intuition said no! I hung up & called the actual Barclays branch number they confirmed it wasn’t them plus there wasn’t anybody called Sal at my local branch & it was somebody trying to get more information! I gave the real Barclays the number they provided the real Barclays called the number it was hello answer phone again the number is now invalid! They probably disconnected because they feared they’d get caught. I mean how the heck they get my full name mobile number & house phone number! I was lucky to suss them out prior to giving any details. Advice please do not give anyone your card details if they call you. You’re better off calling the bank yourself so you know you’re speaking to the actual bank! Sign up to Equifax or Experian make sure nobody is running unauthorised credit checks in your name either. We can work together to get these fraudsters behind bars. They really need to go out and get a real job like the rest of us working hard to earn money and they just try to steal it!

I made a complaint on Barclays Bank Internet Banking system. After several days I received a phone call from a “Withheld” number. The lady asked for my date of Birth, I refused as the fraud police and Which say this should not be given. They also wanted my address or the Post Code. I asked them to send an email via the Internet Banking system. Several days later another call “Withheld” same prceedure. This time was a “senior” person. I explained that I had been an IT Director of Barclays Bank until I retired and had a number of contacts wth the City of London police in Bishopsgate. The police were adament that we should not give a date of birth.
Eventually a normal email came, I checked the IP address , part of which was a valid Barclays IP but it was sent via a mail providor that was on the SPAM/Phishing list of one of the ISP’s in Europe. In the email there was also a telphone number to ring. On the Barclays web-site there is a place to check telephone numbers to check if they are from Barclays. ( http://www.barclays.co.uk/telephone-number-checker). This test failed as well saying this was not a valid Barclays number.
My background did allow me to check with a friend in BT who confirmed that the number was infact a valid Barclays number. Eventually I did speak to the lady and told her of my concerns, she said it was normal for the bank to ask for a Date of Birth and an address. I told her that her telephone number was also not a valid telephone number. What are the banks doing to protect us???
The best advice seems to be to ONLY ring the telephone number on the back of your credit/debit card and ask to be re-directed.

Do banks call from withheld numbers?

I hope not. It should be very rare for a bank to telephone a customer – only if there is a suspicion of fraud occurring or some other emergency, but even then the chances of the customer being available on the telephone number held by the bank are probably only 50% so the bank should immediately suspend withdrawals and issue an explanatory letter by first class post.

Graham Lyons says:
24 April 2017

At least twice a week I receive the Spoof Amazon Seller Plan, as detailed on page 48 of the February 2017 edition of Which. The Which article advises that we should forward the Amazon spoof to stop-spoofing@amazon.co.uk
The mail delivery system rejected my forwarded email twice. I checked, very carefully both times, that I had used the recommended address: stop-spoofing@amazon.co.uk

Hi Graham, it would seem that the address is stop-spoofing@amazon.com – Amazon’s guide to what to do if you receive a suspicious email is here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/help/customer/display.html/?nodeId=201909130

Charles Brendan Maunsell says:
18 August 2020

Some dedicated fraudsters out there – got a (withheld number) call from my credit card “fraud department”, saying card needed to be cancelled due to a fraudulent transaction – this caller had my DOB & address, but then asked for the last 10 numbers on my “soon to be cancelled” card – saw through it, checked account online & hung up & rang my credit card company who confirmed no fraudulent activity on my account 🙂 BEWARE people, lesson is no real bank would ask for your card details over the phone, but I’m sure many vulnerable people have been scammed in this way!

Simon Lewis says:
29 October 2020

I’ve been having similar calls the last couple of months, withheld number and same woman each times calling from Barclays fraud department wanting to check unusual activity on my account. I just tell her I’m busy at the moment and ask for her name and number so I can call back, at this point she either hangs up or gives the Barclays number on the back of the card. I recognise the woman’s voice each time so either she’s persistent in wanting to rob me or she’s very thick. I just wish I could get her number so I can report her.