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I believe it is necessary that we publicise widely the emergence of a new and significant weapon in the armoury of the telephone cold caller. It was covered by Money Box (on BBC Radio 4 at 12.00pm Saturday 31st January) about a disturbing development which has enabled a scam caller claiming to be a bank security official alerting the victim that there was evidence of tampering with their bank account. When challenged for an ID, the caller was able to convince the victim that they were an authentic bank official (in this case Santander).

When asked by the victim “How do I know you are the bank security official ?” – the caller asked for the victim’s mobile no. and said he’d call back with evidence. With this next call he was able to display on the Caller ID the same phone no that was on the victim’s Santander Bank Card. The victim had doubts but was persuaded by this and the confident handling (a quiet Scottish accent who knew the name of the victim and readily volunteered his own name). The victim then followed instructions to transfer funds to a new Sort Code and Account no. supplied by the “bank official”. In all, some £50,000 was transferred out of the victim’s account.

The victim, having some later qualms too late, called Santander and established that the named person was not a member of their staff. The incident is still being investigated by the police and Santander has not undertaken to compensate fully for the recovery of the lost funds.

Please be on your guard, and do not be persuaded by this Caller ID tactic.

Ensure that you take all necessary precautions as follows :

  • Your bank will never discuss this kind of transaction over the phone.
  • Before you commit to transferring any funds as requested, you should make a separate call to your known phone number contact with the bank to confirm the authenticity of the caller.
  • When you do this, firstly ensure that your phone line is clear of the caller (i.e. that you have a proper dialling tone) or use another phone / mobile to make contact with your bank.
Remember, if you have any doubts about the caller’s authenticity, break off phone contact and carry out your own checks as recommended above.
For more detail see the Action Fraud Leaflet below. All these details will be posted on the Cambridgeshire Neighbourhood Watch web-site www.cambsnhw.org.uk
Vic Nickson (NHWN, Communications Administrator, South Cambridgeshire Cambourne Neighbourhood Area)
Action Fraud Leaflet
Alert: watch out for new “number spoofing” scam
Fraudsters are using a new scam to make the people they are phoning believe they are speaking to a trusted organisation by fooling their phones into displaying any number they choose.
The scam, known as ‘number spoofing’, works by fraudsters cloning the telephone number of the organisation they want to impersonate and then make it appear on the victim’s caller ID display when they telephone them on a landline.
The fraudsters will then gain the person’s trust by highlighting the number to them, claiming that this is proof of their identity, before trying to scam them in various ways.
However, it’s not only individuals who are vulnerable to this type of fraud. The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau also warns that spoofing is used in Mandate Fraud. Emails and telephone numbers of genuine companies have been spoofed by fraudsters in order to fraudulently initiate transfers (for example, impersonating the company director to the same company’s accountant), or modify existing account details (impersonating a supplier with respect to a genuine invoice, or an employee with respect to pay).
Increasingly common
Financial Fraud Action UK’s intelligence unit who issued the alert said the scam has become increasingly common in recent weeks. Whilst the technology needed to spoof someone’s number has existed for years, only recently have criminals begun using it to defraud people.
The advice to beat the scam is simple – never assume that someone is who they say they are just because their number matches that of an organisation you know. In fact, if someone tries to draw your attention to the number on your caller ID display, you should immediately become suspicious.
New variation
This scam comes as a new variation on a type of telephone fraud, where fraudsters call people and pose as bank staff, police officers or other trusted organisations to persuade their victim to part with financial and personal details.
Once criminals have their victim’s confidence they will try to extract information such as the victim’s PIN, online passwords or other sensitive information which will then be used to steal from their bank account.
Read more on the Financial Fraud Action UK website.
Please note: Action Fraud is not responsible for the content on external websites.

To report a fraud and receive a police crime reference number, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040

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