A new scam, preying on people’s uncertainty around the question of bank compensation schemes, has come to the attention of Croydon’s trading standards (TS) team.
Fortunately, the targeted victim in the case that has come to light was sufficiently wary not to be fooled by a request for hundreds of pounds, but TS officers are fearful that other, more trusting, residents may have fallen for the con.
The team became involved when a woman from Addiscombe reported her concerns about phone calls she had received from a Manchester-based claims firm.
Identifying herself as Teresa Walker, and having a strong foreign accent, the caller said the resident had been wrongly paying bank charges for 20 years and, under the compensation scheme, was now owed £3,600 from the bank.
Walker told the householder to arrange a Moneygram for £360 – the 10% of the “compensation” sum charged by the company – and to call back with the Moneygram details, at which point Terrence Robinson, a company representative currently working in her area, would deliver a cheque to her front door.
A little later, the resident called her bank in order to check that the call was genuine, but was unable to get any useful information. During a call on the following day, Walker complained that the resident had failed to notify the firm of the Moneygram details.
On being told that the resident had been too busy to arrange a Moneygram, Walker said that she should hurry as Robinson would soon be leaving the area, and she would lose the opportunity of getting the compensation cheque. The resident insisted that she was too busy, to which Walker responded: “Oh, forget it, then!” and rang off.
Looking into the resident’s banking details, TS officers discovered that her account did not generate fees. She had, therefore, not been mis-sold the account, as had been inferred by Walker, and would not be eligible for a compensation payment.
Councillor Mark Watson, cabinet member for communities, safety and justice
“This is clearly a scam based on people’s awareness that banks are making compensating payments for mis-sold bank accounts, but relying on them not necessarily understanding how the compensation works.
“This lady did the correct thing attempting to check the details with her bank. She became suspicious and notified our trading standards team, who was then able to step in and avert what could have been an expensive mistake.
“This resident stumped the scammers before they got their hands on her money, but it may be the case that others have fallen foul of this con. If any have, I’d ask them to report the matter, with the details; any who haven’t, but are approached, should report the incident and, most importantly, not hand over any money.”
Anybody suspecting they have been scammed, or who thinks they are being targeted, should call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 040506, or complete the online form at https://ssl.datamotion.com/form.aspx?co=3438&frm=citacomplainform&to=flare.fromforms