Home > Case Studies > A Phone Scam Almost Cost Me Money: Case Studies

A Phone Scam Almost Cost Me Money: Case Studies

By: Sarah Knowles BA, MA - Updated: 17 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Scam Phone Scam Banking Details Tax

At 3:30 pm on a spring afternoon last year, the phone rang in Claudia Gorman’s west London home. She should have been suspicious, she says, because normally she is at work then and nobody would think of ringing her.

That day, however, Claudia had the day off, so she quickly answered the phone. “It was from a firm we had considered getting a mortgage with,” she says, “and so I first I thought they were calling about the mortgage.”

But the phone call was not about the mortgage – it was about a home insurance policy that the same firm wanted to interest Claudia in. “It sounded a bit odd as I had previously spoke to someone based in the UK, and this sounded like it came from a call centre abroad,” Claudia says.

“The man sounded like he was about 18 years old and had a strong accent, and the connection was so bad I could hardly hear him.”

Getting Suspicious

Claudia, who works in a research lab, at first answered some of the questions put toward her. “He asked me to confirm my name and address, which I did, and then asked for my date of birth.

“I thought that was a bit odd and asked why he needed it. Then he asked for my banking details.

“At that point, alarm bells started going off in my head, and I put the phone down.”

Not one to take things lying down, Claudia, who’s 47, called the mortgage lender directly to see if the call had been legitimate.

“They had no record of anyone calling me that day,” she says. “They said it could have been an identity theft scam, and to be wary about giving away any of my details over the phone.”

Why Phone Scams?

Phone scams are becoming more and more common – and more and more sophisticated. Often, the caller pretends to be from a legitimate company, and tells you there is a problem with your account. He or she then tries to extract pertinent information from you, such as your email address and banking details.

Another scam involves a caller masquerading as a tax official, and telling you that you are due a refund. They then try to get your banking details as well as National Insurance number and council tax reference numbers.

Identity theft is one reason these scams abound. Once they have your info, the fraudsters can take out loans in your name, get credit cards and write bogus cheques.

Other phone scams are simpler. One involves a hang-up call. If you dial 1471 and ring the number back, you’ll be charged a whopping £50 per minute. Amazingly, the police say there is nothing illegal about this scam, so be careful!

Always on Guard

Claudia has learned something from her scam attempt, and is very careful what she tells callers now. Last week she bought a coffee machine at John Lewis, but as it was only available at another branch she had to give her credit card details to the other branch over the phone.

“I paid for it, was given a reference number, and went home. Then about three hours later the phone rang. It was from someone claiming to be from John Lewis, asking for my payment details.

“As I had just given the shop my payment details, I hung up immediately and phoned John Lewis back myself - using the telephone number on their website.

“It turned out to be a legitimate call, but I told them I would never just give my credit card number to someone over the phone who simply claims to be from John Lewis. I am really on my guard now!"

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopfully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • AboutIdentityTheft
    Re: Your National Insurance Number
    Shree - Your Question:Hi, I have just got my NI number in a post. The letter contains my name as Mrs Bhagyavi Barthkumar Patel…
    20 February 2017
  • Shree
    Re: Your National Insurance Number
    Hi, I have just got my NI number in a post. The letter contains my name as Mrs Bhagyavi Barthkumar Patel instead of Mrs Bhagyavi…
    19 February 2017
  • Pd77
    Re: Your Driving Licence and your Passport
    My national insurance card and drivers licence have been stolen. what Risk is there if someone using them to get…
    2 February 2017
  • Yogesh Raja
    Re: Proving Your Identity
    Relying on signatures is boosting identity fraud because in the event of crime signatures do not even expose person's gender. To make…
    1 February 2017
  • JCG78
    Re: Identity Theft of the Deceased
    @Nana - come clean after his death. If you report him he will be arrested and face charges for stealing someone else's ID. What…
    27 January 2017
  • Nana
    Re: Identity Theft of the Deceased
    I have been caring for elderly uncle in his late 70s . He has been using his brother ID for many years . His brother lives…
    26 January 2017
  • Louise
    Re: Your National Insurance Number
    Hi. Can a national insurance card be used to find someone's bank details out ? I currently filled some details regarding a tax…
    11 January 2017
  • PRA
    Re: Your National Insurance Number
    My employer had a data breach of my NI number and it took them over two months to inform me of the breach. This seems too long.…
    23 December 2016
  • A.K
    Re: Your National Insurance Number
    I was waiting on a letter from HMRC - my new tax code. It always has a note of my FULL national insurance number, FULL name…
    20 December 2016
  • AboutIdentityTheft
    Re: Your National Insurance Number
    Vhp - Your Question:My ex employer has been using my NI without me knowing and I have been paying tax every month and few weeks…
    8 December 2016
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the AboutIdentityTheft website. Please read our Disclaimer.