Scam watch: beware 'Ombudsman' cold callers
Scammers are trying to steal personal information by contacting consumers claiming to be from the Financial Ombudsman Service.
The Financial Ombudsman Service is the free organisation consumers contact when they are unable to resolve a complaint with a financial provider.
However, the Ombudsman has issued a warning as fraudsters are making cold calls claiming they are from the service. These calls are made in an attempt to get personal and financial information from members of the public.
The Ombudsman says it never cold calls consumers and is only in contact with people who have made a complaint to it. It offers a free service, so it will never ask for money, nor can it offer to pay compensation directly.
It has issued three top tips to avoid being a phone scam victim:
- Never reveal any personal details, such as your address or phone number, unless you’re absolutely sure that the person you’re dealing with really is who they say they are.
- Never give out any of your banking or credit card details unless you know for certain that the request is genuine.
- Never give anyone your security information, such as your internet or telephone banking password or log-in details - no genuine banking firm ever asks you to provide this information.
- The Financial Ombudsman Service is asking any consumers who have received a fake phone call to contact it on 0800 023 4 567.
- Beware the scammers out to empty your bank account
If you’ve have a complaint about a financial service product you have bought but the company you bought it from refuses to resolve your problem after eight weeks, the Ombudsman can help. The Ombudsman will investigate and resolve the matter. The Ombudsman is independent and its service is free to consumers. The Ombudsman may find in the company’s favour but consumers don’t have accept its decision and are always free to go to court instead. But if they do accept an Ombudsman’s decision, it is binding both on them and on the business.
Used by the holder to buy goods and services, credit cards also have a monthly or annual spending limit, which may be raised or lowered depending on the creditworthiness of the cardholder. But unlike charge cards, borrowers aren’t forced to pay the balance off in full every month and, as long as they make a stated minimum payment, can carry a balance from one month to the next, generating compound interest. As the issuing company is effectively giving you a short-term loan, most credit cards have variable and relatively high interest rates. Allowing the interest to compound for too long may result in dire financial straits.