Warning to bank customers regarding phone scam

BANK customers are being warned not to give the final few digits of their bank account number over the phone after a Coldstream resident was the victim of an attempted fraud this week.

The Bank of Scotland customer was contacted by phone at home by someone claiming to be Melvin Hume, from the Government Department of Finance in Essex.

He explained that as a long-standing customer of the bank she had accrued interest on her account and asked whether she would like the money owed to her to be paid to her by cheque or directly into her bank account.

At first ‘Mr Hume’ raised no suspicion in his intended victim as he knew so many of her personal details that she thought only the bank could know - her name, address, age, expiry date of her card, and all but the last four digits of her account number and the number of the reverse of the card except for the last three numbers.

Despite opting for payment by cheque the victim was pushed for the last four numbers of her account and the final three digits on the reverse of her bank card, and alarm bells started ringing.

When she refused to give him the numbers things started to change and the victim was told that unless she could verify who she was by providing the numbers then her bank account would be frozen for at least a month while the bank’s fraud department investigated all her accounts and those of her family and that there was a very real possibility that she could be blacklisted for five years.

At this point she hung up but when she picked up the phone to ring the police and report it ‘Mr Hume’ was still on the other end of the phone.

A Bank of Scotland spokesperson said: “While this kind of scam is well known, we urge customers to be on their guard if they receive unsolicited calls.

“No bank would ever ask a customer to disclose confidential information in this way. If you are in any doubt as to the veracity of the caller, terminate the call immediately and contact your local branch.”