Scamwatch: latest phone fraud

Criminals have come up with a new way to steal your cash

Updated: 
Waitress accepting credit card from young couple in restaurantCreative image #:  76314221License type:  Royalty-freePhotograp

Stay one step ahead of the fraudsters with our series of articles on the scams they use to trick you out of your hard-earned cash.

This week, we highlight a new phone scam targeting restaurants and the people who eat in them.

How does it work?
This new scam involves fraudsters, posing as bank staff, phoning restaurants and claiming that there is a problem with their card payments system.

To avoid losing money, the restaurant is then told to call a phone line manned by the criminals and put on any customers wanting to pay by card.

But this is just a means for the fraudsters to get customers' details by going through some security questions before telling the restaurant to put the transaction through.

They then phone the customer's bank and attempt to transfer money from their account using the information they obtained on the first call.

How can I avoid being caught out?
Financial Fraud Action UK is advising restaurant owners and diners alike to be alert to this scam, which is perpetrated by professional criminals and can seem very convincing.

Its Katy Worobec said: "If you receive any calls from your bank claiming there is a problem with payments, make sure you phone them on an established number to confirm the request is genuine. In addition, always wait five minutes to ensure the line is clear, as fraudsters will sometimes try to stay on the phone line and pretend to be your bank."

I've been defrauded. What should I do?
In most cases, banks will refund losses incurred as a result of scams like this.However, you should do what you can to limit your losses by getting in touch immediately if you suspect you have been caught out.

That way, the sensitive information given out can be changed and any dodgy transactions can be blocked.

Halifax said: "If you think you may have fallen victim to fraud, please call us as soon as possible."

Restaurant owners, meanwhile, should report the problem to Action Fraud www.actionfraud.police.uk (0300 123 2040), which can take action to catch the fraudsters involved.

Other similar scams
Scamwatch: vishing
Scamwatch: money transfers
Scamwatch: holiday fraud

Beauty Pageant Contestant Accused of Fraud