The Financial Ombudsman Service has issued a warning, about scammers pretending to be from the organisation in order to con people into handing money over. The criminals are phoning people out of the blue and claiming they are due compensation. All they need to do to get hold of the money owed to them is to pay £150.
The Ombudsman issued the warning after receiving reports that this scam was on the rise. Apparently the criminals say you have financial redress coming your way, but to 'release' it you have to hand over £150.
The Ombudsman said that these calls are all scams. It will never cold call customers, and any redress people receive is completely free: they will never be asked to pay any money to the real Ombudsman. They say that if anyone claiming to be from the Ombudsman ever asks for money, then you are being scammed, and must not pay up.
If you receive any calls, texts or emails from anyone who says they work at the Ombudsman service, you can check it out by calling the organisation direct on 0300 123 9 123.
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As a general rule it's worth taking precautions with any call, email or letter that comes out of the blue. It's essential to check whether the person really is from the organisation they claim to represent. If you receive a call, hang up, and call the organisation concerned from another phone line to check if this is their usual way of operating.
It's not a good idea to hand over personal details to anyone who calls or emails you. You should not be revealing your address or hone number, let alone any bank details or passwords.
You should also hear alarm bells if they ask you to give them money - either by bank transfer, in person, or by handing over credit card details. This is a real warning sign that you could be the victim of a scam.
Finally, you need to be particularly wary of anyone who tries to force you to make a quick decision, or keep the communication secret. The reason they don't want you to stop and ask your friends and family is because they're worried that one of them will realise you are being scammed.
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