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Phone and banking frauds threaten us all, warns fraud investigation expert


April 06, 2015, London, UK. Press Dispensary. A private investigation company based in London is warning the public to be wary of phone calls supposedly from high street banks advising their customers to move large sums of money between accounts for what seem like good reasons.

The warning, from Private Detectives London Fraud Investigations Team, follows a recent report on the BBC Radio 4 consumer programme Moneybox. In the report, a victim of telephone fraud described how he had lost £18,000 to a phone scam without any compensation from either his own bank or the bank into which he paid the fraudulently obtained funds. The warning also comes after the news earlier this year that, for the first time, there are more frauds than burglaries in the UK, that fraud shot up by 5% last year(1), and that "the chance of being a victim of bank card crime is now higher than suffering theft of personal property"(2).

Diane Chivers of Private Detectives London said: "Phone fraud is becoming extremely sophisticated and it's very easy to be deceived without knowing it. The old safeguards against phone fraud - such as calling someone back to be sure it's really them - don't always work. And there may be no entitlement to compensation, even though a victim might assume they'll get it."

The Moneybox report told how a fraudster posed as the victim's bank, 'spoofing' the phone number in the victim's caller display to match the bank's number and even asking the victim to call the bank back, to ensure it really was the bank, whilst using a simple technique to intercept the call. The victim transferred his £18,000 to a new account, on what he thought was the advice of his bank, and never saw it again.

Diane Chivers continued: "Phone fraud can be far more common than people realise. It isn't just something that happens to someone else. Police figures show that it's four times more common than robbery, while experts think it is even more widespread than that(2).

"Our advice is never to take the advice of a stranger on the phone about transferring money to another bank account, even if they appear to be genuine. Banks say they would not phone customers to offer such advice.

"If you do receive a call from your bank in which you're asked for any confidential information or instructions, always verify them by calling them back but only use a phone number you're sure is theirs – it might be on their website or literature – and always call them back from a different phone, so that you break any connection between the phone they called you on and the phone you're calling them back on."

Diane Chivers added: "And if you believe you are the victim of fraud, act immediately, informing the police and any banks involved. And because some frauds are never resolved satisfactorily for the victim, Private Detectives London is here to help. We have expert private investigators who are highly experienced in handling cases where people or small businesses think they might be fraud victims.  And because prevention is better than cure, they can also advise on fraud prevention.

"Meanwhile the best general advice is: do not trust strangers who call out of the blue to talk about your banking and take our advice on verifying their identity."

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Notes for editors

For further information, please contact:
Diane Chivers, Private Detectives London
Tel: 020 7125 0053

Twitter: @londonprinv
Pinterest: londoninves

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