/ Money, Travel & Leisure

Don’t let restaurant scammers swallow your money

Restaurant scam

Just when you thought you’d be escaping scams by eating out, there’s one waiting for you in the restaurant. Find out about the restaurant scam that owners and diners are being asked to watch out for.

Financial Fraud Action (FFA UK) has alerted restaurant owners and diners about a new scam predominantly affecting those in London and the south east.

Fraudsters have been posing as bank staff and fooling customers into giving out their bank security details. Restaurants in London’s West End, Canary Wharf and Twickenham have apparently been targeted.

The last thing you want to happen when you’re out at a restaurant is to be scammed, but unfortunately scammers are looking for every opportunity to catch you out when you’re at your most relaxed.

When we told our fans on Facebook about the restaurant scam, the post reached over 30,500 people – showing there is a real appetite (sorry) to avoid this scam.

What is the restaurant scam?

The scam involves fraudsters calling a restaurant and telling staff that the restaurant payment is down.

They then ask the restaurant to redirect any card payments to a new phone number provided by the scammers. When the restaurant calls the new number, the fraudsters ask to speak to the unsuspecting customer who is asked to go through their bank security details. Once they’ve nabbed these, they call your bank and transfer money into their own account using the fraudulently obtained security details.

How to avoid the restaurant scam

So if your waiter passes over a phone asking you to speak to your bank, please point them to this post and tell them it’s a scam. Of course, it’s not their fault, fraudsters are out to get them too. Here’s some further good advice from Katy Worobex, director of FFA UK:

‘It’s important that restaurant owners are alert. Fraudsters can sound very professional – don’t be fooled.

‘If you receive a call from your bank, make sure you phone them on an established number to confirm the request it genuine. Always wait five minutes to ensure the line is clear as fraudsters sometimes try to stay on the phone line and pretend to be your bank.’

Have you seen this scam up close? Have you or someone you know fallen for a similar scam, or are you always vigilant?


I’m just amazed that people still assume that someone on the other end of a phone is who they say they are, when unless you can see them how do you really know. And caller id’s are too easily spoofed, so you can’t even rely on that these days.

My mum got a call the other day and according to oftel the number is reserved for future use.

In the 11 years since Oftel was disbanded that number may well have come into use.