Phishing/telephone scam

I’ve been on the Internet for long enough to know to ignore phishing emails (Paypal has lost ALL my details? What? Again?!), dodgy links (free s3xx0r in MY area!), and anything that claims to have information on my police record (I don’t have one), but something happened today that I’ve never had before. A phishing phone call. (Not sure that’s even the right term as it didn’t happen electronically. Phroning?) And as the various pennies have only just dropped, I thought I’d write about it.

As it happens, the phone call came in when I was busy at work, so I didn’t answer. And they left a message. Here’s the message they left:

Telephone scammer by benparkuk

Aysha? Aisha? Whatever. Deirdre. Twatface. It matters not, to be honest. They withheld their number, but asked me to phone 0845 4255073.

For those of you with broken speakers, or enjoying sitting in silence, the message was:

“Hi. This is a message for Benjamin Park. This is Evesha calling from your bank in Horfield. Don’t panic, but it is important that we do speak. If you can please call me back on 0845 4255073. Thank you.”

Now maybe I’m completely stupid or half-asleep today, but on first listen this morning, I was grumbling about them asking me to call an 0845 number. And I was also thinking ‘they’re going to try and get me to buy some home insurance or one of their premium accounts’. I was thinking that, rather than thinking “THIS ISN’T MY BANK!”.

No – I thought “well I’m not phoning an 0845 number from a mobile at work.. far too expensive”. I got home, listened back to the message. I wrote the number down, then Googled it. Nothing found. I checked for an alternative number – nothing found. I went to my bank’s website, and searched through their contact information. No number found.

At this point, I finally thought: this could be anyone phoning me. I then wondered if I was being paranoid. After all, they had my name, mobile number, and the area I live in.

I searched for the number for my actual nearest branch (which doesn’t have a number, of course), phoned my bank’s national call centre (also an 0845 number), and spoke to a human. They confirmed that the number provided is not a number for the bank. Not in their office, not in any office. Not in the sales team, or fraud department. There are no notes on my account, any problems as far as she could see, or in fact any reason for them to contact me claiming it was ‘important’ that we do speak.

I played the message back again to double/triple-check the number, and then it became so unbelievably obvious, I can’t believe I ever considered phoning it.

Phoning from “your bank in Horfield”. I live in Horfield. But where my bank account is registered, isn’t. I moved here years after I opened the bank account. There’s a nearby branch I occasionally use, but it certainly isn’t the one they’d deem to be MY branch, based on my account’s sort code.

Quite a clever scam though, to get my name, mobile number (which is unlisted, not used for business, and not given out on any of my websites), and the area I live in. If I had the recording capability and inclination, I’d phone them back and waste their time for a bit. And on a serious note, is there anywhere I can report this? Presumably that 0845 number must be registered to someone. Someone who is clearly using it for illegal purposes. Ofcom? Any thoughts, please let me know.