Moore Thompson are advising our clients to proceed with caution if ever they receive a telephone call purporting to be from the Financial Ombudsmen Service (FOS) – even if the call appears to be in relation to previous correspondence.
In recent weeks, Police crime watchdog Action Fraud has issued a press release warning that fraudsters are increasingly posing as FOS representatives and opportunistically ‘cold-calling’ Britons as part of an elaborate new scam.
According to reports, scammers are pretending to be from the FOS and informing people that they are owed a large amount of money which can only be ‘released’ if the victim purchases an iTunes gift card to the value of £300.
Victims are then told that a courier will collect the gift card – which will be treated as a ‘reimbursement fee’ – from their home address and later send them a cheque in the post along with the full details of their reimbursement.
The news comes just weeks after Action Fraud reported that criminals posing as officials from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) were using a similar ‘iTunes gift card scam’ whereby victims were being asked to pay a bogus tax bill using the cards.
It is thought that fraudsters trying to part people from their hard-earned cash have begun to favour iTunes gift cards due to their relatively untraceable nature in comparison with bank transfers or other types of payment.
Following the news, Action Fraud is warning people never to purchase iTunes or similar gift cards if instructed to do so by someone claiming to be from a Government body. Individuals are also warned never to disclose any personal sensitive information to a shady cold caller.
If in doubt about a call purporting to be from the FOS, individuals are urged to call the Ombudsmen directly at 0300 123 9123. They are also urged to report any suspicious activity to Action Fraud immediately.