Nasty fraudsters have been cold calling pretending to be staff from the Financial Ombudsman Service wanting to discuss insurance claims.
People have also been getting fraudulent emails claiming to be from staff at the Financial Ombudsman Service.
In both circumstances, fraudsters are falsely using the name of the service to persuade people to reveal details about their personal and financial circumstances.
The Financial Ombudsman have said: “We take issues like this very seriously and it is concerning and unfortunate that fraudsters are falsely using our name to try to deceive people. The ombudsman does not “cold-call” people or email them out of the blue, particularly to ask for personal information.
“We would only get in touch if someone has already contacted us, so they should be expecting to hear from us, and then only to discuss the query they have asked us to look into.
“It is important to be vigilant so if you receive an unexpected call or email from someone who says they work at the ombudsman service – but it seems suspicious and you want to check it out – you can get in touch with us. We’d recommend you hang up and either use a different phone, or at least wait ten minutes, and then call us directly on 0800 023 4567.””
The Ombudsman’s suggestions on how to avoid scams
• Never reveal any personal details – such as your address, phone number etc. – unless you’re absolutely sure that the person you’re dealing with really is who they say they are. Some firms will ask for extracts of personal information for security procedures but this is normally only where you have a pre-existing relationship with them. If you aren’t expecting a call or don’t recognise the business calling, be vigilant;
• never give out any of your banking or credit card details unless you know for certain that the request is genuine; and
• never give anyone your security information, such as your internet/telephone banking password or log-on details (no genuine banking firm ever asks you to provide this information).
In July The Financial Service Ombudsman published a report on vishing scams which included some more hints and tips on how to avoid scams, which you may want to bear in mind.
Have you ever been contacted by cold callers impersonating the Financial Ombudsman Service? Maybe they were pretending to be from somewhere else? Let us know in the comments below – we love hearing from you.