We are told never to share personal banking details, or download software at the request of a stranger on the telephone, but that’s what I foolishly did, before criminals helped themselves to our hard-earned savings via a clever scam.
Our Sky broadband had been slow for weeks, and I finally reported it via a MySky app. Our Sky landline phone immediately rang. The scammers either struck lucky, or were already in the know: either way, I was conned into believing it was prompt customer service. Your issues can be fixed remotely, they said, for which I needed the sharing app, Team Viewer. I downloaded it onto my iPhone.
Over the next hour they shared fake personalised broadband error messages, and even ‘arranged’ for an engineer to visit. Finally, an onscreen calculation showed I was eligible for compensation.
They said I had to open my Barclays banking app and input my passcode to see the refund. I was reluctant, and they started to get impatient. My wife, Marianne, rang Barclays on her mobile and, feeling uneasy, I hung up.
They rang back. “Open your app and enter your passcode: we can’t see it.”
Instead of putting the phone down, I caved and opened the app: the balance immediately fell by £1,000. They demanded the passcode again: “Your account is vulnerable.”
I succumbed, and watched horrified, as our current account emptied and our £40,000 ISA was transferred into it, ready to be snatched as well.
At that moment, Barclays’ fraud team answered and everything was blocked.
We got most payments back quickly as they’d gone to previous payees: an act designed to create chaos while the scammers targeted the big prize. Barclays covered the rest.
It was a sophisticated, arrogant scam. Even while I was screaming that they were not going to get our ISA, they were typing in the payment transfer reference, “Oh yeah?”
Mick has since contacted both Sky and Action Fraud and is waiting for their response.
NEVER give out personal financial information over the phone. If you think you have been a victim of this kind of scam, contact your bank immediately.