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Scam watch: PPI refund scam

A cold-calling scam that involves you buying Ukash vouchers is catching people unawares. Here’s how one Which? member was unfortunately caught out.

Caller to the Which? Money Helpline: I was called by a company claiming to be the OFT, saying that I was owed a PPI refund plus other monies. The caller said that there were cheques ready for dispatch.

I was never asked for bank details, but the caller told me I was entitled to a total of £5,000 – including compensation from the government because of the time it had taken to resolve the issue.

I was asked to purchase Ukash ‘vouchers’ to cover the cost of the cheques, so I bought two at £500 each, which the caller said I could keep until the cheques had cleared.

I was asked to give both Ukash code numbers to the caller, which I did, but no cheques have arrived.

What we say on PPI refund scam

The Which? Money Helpline has received a few calls about this scam. Unfortunately, your cheques will never appear, as the Office of Fair Trading has now been closed, and did not award compensation for mis-sold PPI or any other financial matter when it did exist.

Cash transfers made through electronic vouchers are impossible to trace or recover. Ukash payments are processed when you hand over your unique code to a third party, so giving this to a cold-caller is the same as giving away the money.

Be aware that Ukash payments don’t have a credit element to them either, so unfortunately there’s no scope to reclaim the money using protection schemes such as Section 75 or chargeback.

Have you been a victim of this scam or a similar one? Do you have any tips for spotting a scam call offering a PPI refund?

Comments

My technique, when having been approached by the scammers, was to string them along for weeks, by giving all kinds of excuses as to why I could not make their appointments for the exchange of cheques ceremony. The excuses ranged from, taking the wife to the doctor’s surgery, collecting the kids from school, going on holiday for a few days, and, being in the process of moving home. After circa a month, they realized I was taking the proverbial and swore at me down the phone. One further thing I believe, is that they were calling from the Philippines. I can only imagine that they obtained my details from the firm of solicitors: whom I had contacted to make a PPI claim; which turned out to be unsuccessful, then sold the mailing list to those people

bishbut says:
16 December 2017

If you can do it but beware the longer you take the more control over your decisions thy think they have The best way is terminate the call quickly when you realise it is a scam call Play safe if in doubt end the call anyway genuine callers will understand

Bobbee says:
15 February 2018

I received 3 calls over 2 days telling me my PPI claim has been successful to the tune of £1,735. He promised the money would be sent to me by check and asked for confirmation of my address, which bank I made the claim to and my date of birth. The third conversation was when I got suspicious as he told me the banks would take £900 from my claim but I could stop this by taking out an insurance policy for £10 per month and then cancel it once I’d received the full amount due to me of £1.735. I told him I needed to check this as it didn’t make sense. Felt like he was annoyed at this and swiftly hung up on me. Surprise, surprise! I phoned the 2 different numbers which I’d saved. The first number was totally dead and the second was an o2 messaging service voicemail. He sounded like he was oriental.

Keven says:
19 April 2018

I had a call tonight from 02081233512 saying I was due to receive £2989 and they were going to bring it at 4pm tomorrow. There was £298 . He offered up his number and his name (mark) . I’ll wait in tomorrow to see if anyone turns up but have my doubts

This will 100% be a scam Keven. Whatever you do, don’t give them any info or confirm any details to them.

One scam is to request a payment from you so they can release the full amount that doesn’t exist.

If anyone does turn up, please don’t fall for whatever scam they try on you.

a. morris says:
2 May 2018

Same PPI scam as above, asian sounding caller, wanted to come to my home, so said come to my workplace and gave them the address of the local police station where I said we can more easily arrest the caller. Wasn’t well received, I hope the police will forgive me for impersonating a Policeman on this occasion!

Tina booker says:
2 May 2018

I have just had the phone all when I said I couldn’t get the iTunes voucher she said to call me back when I could the telephone number was 02031290865. I nearly fell for it until I questioned if they were the same company that dealt with my ppi she was clueless needless to say there will be no voucher ! They are very clever ! I feel like ringing her back and giving her s mouthful but it will only cost me to ring the number !

Rob says:
11 May 2018

We also had a call today from a David Thomas asking for £375 in iTunes gift card for £3750 pip police told us not to talk to them as it sounds like a scam there number is 02039362689

Paul jackson says:
2 June 2018

Yes they have done it to me yesterday same scam same numbers all round ,I have no money till pay day that’s the 24 June when they will ring me back to check that I have the iTunes card ,I have told action fraud and given them the phone numbers but reading these reports the numbers will be known anyway ,how on earth can these people still be ringing me now using the same names and telephone numbers and still getting rich I could have easily fallen for it and who knows just how many still are

ALe Johnson says:
8 June 2018

I Had several phone calls from this so called company from Hemel Hempstead Herts Telephone Number 01442 780122 Stating they were Solicitor’s on a PPI claims team and I have been awarded 3780.00 from a loan which I took out, I never had a loan I said to the so called solicitor he was very persistent saying I did and said I would loose out. All who have to do is pay the Tax on it which was 385.00 into a online banking reference which he will give me the details of and the funds will be transferred into your account straight away, he was also very hesitant when I asked him about my name as he asked me when he called for my first name and then after asking for my surname.
I then said I have not got 385.00 he said what is your date of birth I told him he said hold on I will speak to a senior solicitor, I could hear other people in the background as there seemed a team of them doing it to other people on the phone he then came back to me and said since your a senior citizen I could do it for 185.00 can you pay now I said no I have no online banking setup, he then got rude and said everybody has one you are behind in times you will loose out your claim if you cannot pay the tax for it.
The attitude of this Man over the phone conversation started to get me very inpatient he said I will ring you tomorrow I and me the time and get one set up for him to transfer the funds over, if you receive a phone call from this so called PPI solicitors from the number above don’t answer it they are not so called agents and I do not no were they got my number from, and they need to be traced and arrested coning people from there hard earned cash.

Ale -what name did they give as a company name ?

Hi Ale, sorry to hear this! It can be very stressful when people call you out of the blue, especially when they become aggressive. If you are wondering whether you’re genuinely due PPI refund, then you can actually claim yourself, for free. Here’s our guide on how to do this: https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/how-to-reclaim-mis-sold-ppi

Martin says:
29 June 2018

Had a call from 01172300775 Charge Back Claims from a lady called Ayley I think… Same pattern as everyone else apperantly will be on my door step in the morning if I verify the id code by phone in the morning,,, don’t think they’ll be getting that call ….

Margo Linton says:
3 July 2018

Had a PPI call stating I had a cheque worth £8749 but I had to purchase an ITUNES government approved voucher for the sum of £298 and my cheque would be delivered and I did not need to pay until it was cleared. The number I was given was 0208 123 3512. Be Aware

Bev Harley says:
4 July 2018

I have just received a call from a company by the name of chargeback claims saying they will come to my home to clarify I am who I say I am and he will give me a chq for over £3.000 over a mis-sold PPI from 2005. Advice gratefully received. Sounds like a scam. No mention of vouchers.

If you have a legitimate PPI claim you can do it yourself. I’d suggest you leave any opportunist like this well alone as they will more than likely defraud you by requiring “fees” up front, and then disappear. You can check on the internet for anything about such companies.

christina sosseh says:
18 July 2018

Had a call from a lady who said her name is sonya wilson from money saving expert. She said i have a cheque for £481.00 for ppi refund I questioned this as have not reclaimed ppi through them. She then went on about ppi. she told me i would have a further call from her manager who told me someone would come to my home and deliver the cheque in person and i had to have £150 worth of itune vouchers. All sounded a bit dubious and i went online to find out if this is a scam as i was sure it was. fortunately i found this site. the number they called from is 028 1445139. I have mailed money saving expert to let them know these people are passing themselves off as them.
tried contacting the fraud line, but as they will not turn up will post it on here.

P Sparks says:
1 August 2018

Just had a call from a man called “David” with such a strong accent he was really difficult to understand the gyst of what he was saying but he said that the FCA had successfully processed my PPI claim and that there would be fees of 25% +VAT to pay but that if I would allow them to send me a quote for life insurance this company would pay the fees. Company was apparently called National Refunds. None of it made any sense but he did know my name and address. In the end he told me I had two options either to pay the tax and percentage commission which came to £1200 or I could accept the offer of a quote from a life insurance company and they would pay the £1200. I told him I had a third option which was to do neither and I told him our conversation was now over. He rang me from 07898 145721 and I have now blocked his number. I had a similar conversation yesterday regarding a company that wanted to give me a free quote for life insurance. I think it is appalling that these scam companies are not being shut down and feel sorry for anyone who may get taken in by them.

Chris Kelsey says:
25 September 2018

I’ve had the same call a couple of times in the last few days, they say they’re from UK National Refunds of the Financial Conduct Authority. The first said I was going to get a PPI refund of £1,800 but I would have to pay £1,200 of it in tax unless I took out a life insurance policy. I said it seemed a bit odd that an agency of the British Government would be advising me to avoid tax by taking out life insurance. The second time they said I was going to get £2,000, when I asked them which bank had accepted my claim they said the Halifax. I said, that’s funny because I’ve never had an account with the Halifax. So then they said it doesn’t matter which bank because PPI claims have been accepted by all the banks. When I challenged him again he hung up. They use mobile numbers, the last one was 07855 462089. I’ve blocked both the numbers but it seems once they’ve got your number they just keep ringing on different numbers.

Lisa says:
11 October 2018

I had a call from a “mark” with claims direct Group i think, he was very difficult to understand, he told me I had been awarded £2300 for miss sold PPI. He said there commision had already been taken and that i had to buy a £100 ukash voucher and give it to a solicitor who was going to come to my door this afternoon but this would be refunded to me.. needless to say I did not do this. He knew the name of the company who allegidly refunded me, which could have been convincing to a lesser alert person.
I subsequently contacted the firm who allegidly refunded me and they confirmed there had never been a PPI claim made and they had no records of anyone trying to make a PPI claim on my behalf.
Scamming bunch of x€%$#

Charlie Pragnell says:
11 January 2019

I was contacted on 10th January 2019 by an Asian male calling himself Kevin Phillips. He told me he was from National Refunds Department. The telephone number was 01709373420 which showed it was from Rotherham.
He informed me a PPI claims against Capital One had been successful and I would receive £2,000 less 25% charge. I was not asked bank details and told it would be about 8 weeks to receive my money. I was given a claim reference number. They then went on to discuss insurance. I told them I was too busy and ended call politely.
I later received a call from same number from an Asian male about insurance. I informed him my life cover was high and after brief conversation . He became abusive and rude I then hung up. He did state they were independent acting on behalf of Legal and General, Axa and other major insurance companies.

Jane says:
16 January 2019

I just had a call from Claims Advisory saying that I had a payout for PPI of £3285 and was told to write down a reference number.
They passed me to another call handler who told me I would have to pay tax on that payment but I wouldn’t have to if they had an investment, such as life insurance on file and that I could take one out for long enough for the cheque to clear. I said that sounded unethical or possibly even illegal as I couldn’t understand how another insurance policy could exempt me from tax on a historical claim.
He tried to explain it a few times without making it sound any better and then told me he was not trying to sell me life insurance.
What do you think – have I been scammed? Will a cheque for £3285 less tax arrive?

Error

Jane – You wrote that the caller said he represented “Claims Advisory”. That is not the same as “Claims Advisory Group”. Warning signal No. 1.

The article [dated 1 April 2017] referenced by Duncan [above] suggested that Claims Advisory Group were bona fide. The contributor wrote “Finally I looked up ‘Claims Advisory Group’ on the web. They did exist. They were based in Manchester and they did appear to be above board – but their website was surrounded by others warning ‘Scam’!“. Well, they don’t seem to have a website now – or at least I couldn’t find one – and it is possible the company no longer exists. Warning signal No. 2.

To answer your specific questions – (a) you have probably not been scammed if you have not paid anything up front, or entered into any agreement or ‘insurance policy’, and (b) it is almost certain that you will not receive a cheque for £3,285.

But if you have given the caller any personal identity information, like date of birth or bank details, you could be at risk of exploitation. I suggest you first inform your bank and ask them to block any suspicious withdrawals, second change your password and set up new bank and credit card accounts, and third have nothing to do with any company that makes an unexpected offer of financial compensation whether by telephone or e-mail or through the post.

Any legitimate Payment Protection Insurance claims handling company will reference the claim by confirming the name of the lender, the date and term of the loan, the amount borrowed, and the type or purpose of the loan. And generally this won’t happen unless you have actually submitted a PPI compensation claim.