Category: Scam Call

Those Terrible Time-Wasters

So, what rubbish emails and calls have there been to Brooklands Radio station in the last few days?

A final award notification notice telling me that I’ve won $4.75 million in the Bono Lotto – I must be very lucky – winning a lottery I didn’t even enter. I’ll tell them to donate the money to charity.

A video to watch that warns how my family could end up in a FEMA concentration camp. This is part of a very strange conspiracy theory to do with America’s Federal Emergency Management Agency. Very weird.

An offer to let me join the Millionaire beta testers of the Dubai Lifestyle APP. The APP apparently lets me rake in ‘insane’ profits with just a few mouse clicks – I don’t think so – only the scammers make money.

Apparently I’ve subscribed to a newsletter but it appears to have no name and I need to click on my profile to set preferences. My preference would be for an end to scammers like these ones.

Asda wants me to redeem my £500 Asda gift card. I don’t think so, as it doesn’t exist.

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UK Biggest Cyber Criminals Caught

The UK’s biggest ever cyber scammers stole £113m by calling victims pretending to be from their bank. Fraudsters used bin bags full of cash for shopping sprees, bought supercars and a Lahore mansion. The Glasgow-based gang targeted small businesses in telephone fraud scam and they cleared out millions of pounds from their victims’ bank accounts

The ring leader Choudhary has been jailed for 11 years and 14 others also face prison terms.

The Burnley-born fraudster had fleeced over 750 British firms to fund his millionaire playboy lifestyle. Raking in £3million a month by cold-calling bank customers, he ruined hundreds of lives and put small businesses on the brink of bankruptcy – leaving one victim so distraught that she committed suicide.

The Method

Choudhary phoned businesses claiming to be from their bank, saying security on the accounts had been compromised. He got internet bank security details and passwords from employees and emptied their accounts in minutes, blocking phone lines with software to stop contact with the real bank

Unwitting customers were told their accounts had been hacked and were duped into giving their internet banking passwords over the phone.

The cash was withdrawn by ‘money mules’ and moved through transfer exchanges from London to Pakistan and elsewhere. The biggest raid saw £2.2million taken from a solicitor’s firm in minutes

Choudhary used the details to convince businesses he was a genuine bank employee, telling them they had been hacked by ‘someone in Aberdeen’ called ‘King’

Scotland Yard believes at least 750 businesses were affected between January 2013 and October 2015, but there could be countless others. Choudhary targeted customers from Lloyds, Santander, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland.

Choudhary grew so rich that he flew his personal valets 8,000 miles across the world to polish his Porsches.

He posed as a music producer and property developer and owned a fleet of expensive cars including a Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Lamborghini and two Porsches.

Choudhary spent millions on a property portfolio in Pakistan, Dubai and Scotland, treated himself to £100,000 shopping trips at Harrods, bought £45,000 Rolex watches and enjoyed luxury holidays in the Middle East.


Choudhary was jailed for 11 years. Corrupt Lloyds business adviser, Jones Opare-Addo, was jailed for five years for leaking account details to the gang and setting up accounts to launder cash.

Emma Daramola, 23, was given a two-year suspended sentence for conspiracy to commit fraud by abuse of position for her role as an insider at Lloyds

A long list of accomplices were also jailed.

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The Overpayment Refund Scam

The basic scam is that something happens and the organisation concerned appears to have overpaid you significantly. There is some story as to how this could have happened and usually someone calling you about it who is worried over losing their job if the over payment is not rectified.

That leads you into paying them the amount of the overpayment and then their payment will disappear and you will out of pocket by hundreds or thousands of pounds.

For example :-

Joanna finally got her broadband working after 3 weeks of problems.  She was told there would be monetary compensation.

A caller (claiming to be from BT) then called about paying the compensation. Details were sorted out and she believed the payment would be made.

Then she received another  call (claiming to be from BT) that said that the payment had been made but he had made a mistake and overpaid by £700. He then sent her an email to prove the overpayment and he asked her to repay the money to a specific account ASAP so he didn’t lose his job.

She did this and then it turned out that no compensation payment had ever been made.

The most common form of this scam is more personal and involves selling a car. The scammer agrees to the purchase and apparently pays but pays too much then seeks to get the overpayment back from you.  The scammer may buy sight unseen and have some bogus reason for this and the apparent urgency of the purchase.

Payment is usually by credit card which then turns out to be stolen or cheque. A UK cheque will appear to have cleared after 4 working days but it is still possible for it to bounce until after the 6th working day.

If you receive a cheque or card payment for something  that is more than the agreed amount of money, do not accept it – return the payment and ask for the correct amount.

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Callers Who Know Your Details

Most callers have no information about you save for a name and the telephone number and sometimes not even a name. But sometimes you get a caller who knows a lot about you and pretends to be confirming information – probably pretending to be from the local council or government or some other authority or even a utility company or a company such as Microsoft or BT etc.

Their information could have come from any number of sources e.g. from a data breach at a company you do business with or from rifling through your rubbish bin or from hacking your emails or just from the Electoral Register.

Don’t be conned into believing it’s safe to confirm information they appear to have – they are practiced at asking questions that lead you to believe they know more than they actually do.  The more information you give them the easier it is for them to defraud you.

  1. Review what information the caller has and where it may have come from.
  2. If necessary, contact your bank, credit card supplier etc. to check for suspicious activity
  3. Review your online logins and passwords and whether any should be changed

What can you do to protect yourself?

Monitor your bank accounts, credit cards, investments, etc., on a weekly basis if possible. Follow up on any unexpected transactions and contact the relevant bank, card supplier etc. if you are concerned.

Lorraine’s Battle Over Fridge Insurance

Lorraine is retired. She has insurance against breakdown on her fridge and freezer and other items as it gives peace of mind. This is paid monthly by direct debit to Domestic General. Ltd

Then she received a call from the company about her insurance saying the company had changed ownership but they could start a new insurance policy to cover her fridge etc. and the best deal was to take 3 year cover.

Lorraine is a canny person and questioned to herself whether this was true, but the company knew about her fridge, the direct debit and that she had taken out the cover in 2003. So it all appeared correct and she agreed and paid in advance for the new 3 year deal (at the significant cost of £150).

She told her daughter Fiona about this sometime later and Fiona was suspicious when she found out the original direct debit was still in operation. She checked the documentation and found that the new cover was with Domestic Appliances.

She called them and realised it is a separate company nothing to do with Domestic General Ltd. Fiona tried to get the money back but Domestic Appliances refused to acknowledge the deceitful approach by their caller and refused a refund. They also denied having a recording of the telephone conversation and claimed their staff were well trained and would not engage in such subterfuge.

What to do?

Fiona cancelled the direct debit with the original company Domestic General Ltd. and explained to them what had happened. They couldn’t help but did say that this problem had happened before with Domestic Appliances.

The reputable company Domestic General Ltd offered monthly payment and a contract that could be cancelled whereas Domestic Appliances insisted on payment up front for a 3 year deal and no cancellation.

Unfortunately there seems to be no redress in this situation – no way to get the money back from Domestic Appliances.

Will they provide a good service if Lorraine has problems with her kitchen fridge?

We don’t know.

If you have any experiences with scammers, spammers or time-waster do let me know, by email.

What is Vishing?


One scam on the rise is ‘vishing‘, or voice phishing. Con artists phone people and pretend to be bank staff or the Police or some other authority figure and have a story that lets them try to get the subject’s personal details, credit card details, bank account password etc. depending on the specific scam.

For the bank account scam, they typically warn of fraudulent activity on your account. They then persuade you to move your account to a safe place (which happens to be an account owned by the scammer) and they convince you to give them the details necessary for the transfer or convince you to move the money yourself.

Then you finds out the account belongs to someone else and the money is gone.

One trick commonly used is to tell you to call their bank and confirm what’s happened but the scammer stays on the line and you thinks you are talking with bank staff but in fact it’s another member of the scammer’s team.

Some scammers are sophisticated enough to use Voice Over IP lines and display a number of their choice on your phone display.

Voice phishing is very difficult for the authorities to monitor or trace and the best answer is to protect yourself.

Do not be pushed into precipitate action where money is concerned. If in doubt – use someone else’s phone to contact your bank or go in and talk with them.

The fraudsters have also started using the bank’s own technique of making recorded message calls to their customers but in this case to warn the customer of a problem and giving a number to call which is the scammer. This adds an air of authenticity to the scam.  Alternatively when called it may be a computer responder that asks for the subjects bank details etc.

There are lots of variants on this illegal activity but be careful and verify who is calling you and always take the time to think – don’t be pushed into doing something that could turn out badly.

If you have any experiences with scammers, spammers or time-waster do let me know, by email.