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Fraudsters target restaurants in latest phone scam


Restaurant owners are being warned to stay vigilant as fraudsters target diners in a new phone scam, according to the latest intelligence from Financial Fraud Action UK’s fraud intelligence bureau.

The scam involves fraudsters, posing as bank staff, phoning restaurants claiming there is a problem with their card payments system. The restaurant is then told to redirect any card payments to a phone number provided by the fraudster.

When the restaurant calls the phone number the fraudster asks to speak with the paying customer and then goes through their security questions. Once sufficient security details have been obtained from the customer, the fraudster will instruct the restaurant to put the transaction through.

The fraudster then subsequently calls the customer’s bank in an attempt to transfer money to their own account using the fraudulently obtained security details.

Katy Worobec, Director of Financial Fraud Action UK, said: “It’s important that restaurant owners are alert. Fraudsters can sound very professional – don’t be fooled.

“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.”

The con is a new version of the long-standing courier scam where crooks convince people that they’re from a bank or the police by telling victims to call back using the phone number on the reverse of their bank card or the local cop shop.

But the caller doesn't hang up, which means victims think they're dialling a new number when they're still connected to the crook. Who then – for "security" reasons – demands pin numbers and sends a courier to pick up their plastic cards.