Beware of bogus callers

Tayside Police is urging householders to be on their guard against cold callers who phone unprompted and offer loans, rebates or rewards.

Over the past week Tayside Police has received up to 20 complaints, or intelligence reports in relation to people – some times elderly and vulnerable residents – being called by people claiming to be from banks, financial institutions, government bodies and even lottery operators with promises of ready cash.

However, an upfront fee is invariably requested to allow the main transaction to take place.

In many instances the householder has been advised to make a payment using Ukash. This involved buying a Ukash voucher and then providing the cold caller with the voucher’s serial number.

An Arbroath resident was contacted by someone claiming to represent a loan company on Monday, July 11.

The caller, who had a foreign accent, offered a substantial loan but advised the householder that they needed to obtain a Ukash voucher for a three-figure sum to demonstrate their ability to repay the loan.

This was done and the relevant details were passed, but the loan never materialised.

An elderly woman in Dundee was cold-called by a man with a foreign accent who urged her to attend at a cheque clearance centre to transfer £1,500 to a bank account in India in return for a £15,000 cash reward.

She attended at her bank where staff quickly realised she was being scammed. They refused the transfer request and took steps to protect her account.

Ukash provide a warning on their website about bogus callers. With particular reference to promised lottery winnings, they state: “Do not send Ukash to anyone asking for a fee to send you lottery winnings. They will ask you to send them a Ukash voucher code by email. This is a fraud and you will lose your money.”

For further information see www.ukash.com.

A Tayside Police spokesman said: “People should always be extremely cautious about providing personal and financial details over the phone, particularly in instances where they have been cold-called.

“We receive reports about householders and businesses receiving unsolicited calls from people who claim to be from well-known, reputable companies, or financial institutions. Details that have been requested can include cardholder’s name, card numbers, passwords and card expiry dates.

“Others more recently have requested their victims to send cash in advance, whether by voucher, cheque of cash transfer in exchange for greater riches. Do not fall for their false promises.

“While it is common practice to carry out transactions over the phone, we would advise people not to share financial details with a cold caller.

“Personal information should not be shared in such circumstances either including simple information such as when you may or may not be at home. Such callers may be very convincing, but householders must keep in mind the fact that the person at the other end of the line has put time and effort into rehearsing their lines with the hope of catching them out.

“Be suspicious of all such calls and always make every effort to ensure that the person at end of the line is who they claim to be, represent who they claim to represent and are legitimate and reputable.

“If you are unsure, take details of their company so you can check their credentials. You can even take a number with a view to checking out their details and calling the company they say they are from at a later time using a number you have obtained independently.

“Above all else if you have concerns of suspicions hang up and contact the police on 0300 111 2222.”

Action Fraud provides a great deal of advice in relation to all types of fraud and advice about how to avoid becoming a victim of the fraudster.

For further information see www.actionfraud.org.uk.