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Fraudsters posing as banks in latest scam

Margaret Williamson is one of several readers to report having been targeted by scammers recently.

PEOPLE in Shetland are continuing to be targeted by sophisticated banking scams that could easily result in individuals being defrauded of thousands of pounds.

In recent days several Shetland News readers have reported receiving calls that looked as if they were made from phone numbers printed on the back of people’s bank cards.

SIC trading standards manager David Marsh said the service was encouraging people to share their experiences, and renewed his appeal for people to be on their guard when receiving calls supposedly from their bank.

Scammers called Margaret Williamson, from Lunna, several times on Sunday evening and she said they were initially very convincing.

Someone pretending to be from the Bank of Scotland phoned her saying they were looking into suspicious movements on her account and queried whether she had authorised direct debits from a well-known online retailer worth more than £5,000.

“This was initially totally believable as they were using the bank’s phone numbers,” she said.

“I became suspicious because they called me Mrs Edwin Williamson, and I asked how I could know whether they were the bank.

“So the guy I spoke to said he would ask his manager to phone me back on the bank number that I would know.

“When he was off the phone I redialled the number they used and it was answered with ‘Welcome to the Bank of Scotland/Halifax’, but the bank was closed and that made me even more suspicious.”

When they realised that she also has a bank account with the Royal Bank of Scotland, the scammers said they would inform RBS about their suspicions of fraud. Seconds later Williamson received a call from a number that is displayed on the back of her RBS bank card. 

“I hung up after three phone calls. Each phone call had the bank phone number on the display and that is what worried me the most,” she said.

“I feel annoyed, but I also feel glad they didn’t get the better of me. It was really scary, and I am worried that particularly older people might fall for this. 

“I was worried all night yesterday thinking was that the bank or was it not, and checked my bank account continuously the whole night.”

Meanwhile, Katherine Jamison, from Sandness, said her husband Garry was almost caught out by online banking fraud earlier in the month.

“He got a phone call from three different ‘fraud squad’ folk from the number on the back of his card (which you are supposed to phone when fraud suspected) as apparently his bank account was compromised,” she said.

“Eventually the guy wanted Garry to transfer all money including all overdrafts to this new account he’d made for Garry… that’s when the alarm bells finally rang! 

“Garry stopped and called back the number on the card and discovered it was all a scam! Calling from the security number is blooming frightening!”

Marsh said scammers had already become aware that people were warning each other and have now even incorporated that into their calls in an attempt to prove that they are genuine.

He added: “If people haven’t lost money then telling us or reporting it through the online action fraud reporting tool is helpful information, but the fact that they are spoofing the bank’s phone number means we’ve not even got phone numbers that can be followed up.

“If they have lost money they need to report this to police and talk to their bank about it.”

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