Banbury residents are being warned of a complex phone scam that could con them out of hundreds of pounds.
Banburyshire Advice Centre, located in the Cherwell Business Village on the Southam Road, say the area is being targeted by a scam where callers identify themselves as the Inland Revenue Service or HMRC or from telecommunication companies.
Andy Willis, chairman of the centre, said: “The scammers know a lot about their victims, eg phone number, where they live, local post offices and banks as well as part or whole of their bank details. The scammers are very convincing.
“They also know which Internet providers and telephone providers you are with. The scammers do not ask your address, phone number or credit card instead they ask you to confirm these details. They are very convincing, so be on your guard.”
He said HMRC did not call people randomly and advised residents to treat any such call with suspicion.
Mr Willis said con-men were targeting Sky, Talk Talk and BT customers in the Banbury area with an elaborate tale about faulty services.
He explained: “The scam is by phone they say there is a vault with your device and they are going to send someone to repair it but first they are going to give you £200 in compensation as your device is not working correctly etc.
“Next you will receive an email apologising for the inconvenience and instead of £200 they will pay you £1,200. You notice the overpayment as they may ask you to check your email while on the phone.
“The scammers become hysterical that they have over paid and they may lose their job and they have a family to support etc.
“Next they ask you to pay the money back. They then give you an account to pay it or ask you to confirm you bank details and ask for further details.
“The scammers are very persistent and can keep ringing their potential victim. They also know where the nearest post office is to your home and will try and persuade you to go there to pay the money.
“The money never appears in your bank. They also know the age of the person they are trying to scam. Victims may have their details passed on and receive further scams in the post. Don’t give any details over the phone.”
The centre has issued advice over what to do if you think you may have been targeted.
“Contact your fraud department of your Internet provider or telephone provider to block the phone calls and get in touch with your bank so they are aware of things to make sure no unauthorised transactions have occurred and for further advice,” Mr Willis said.
He added: “If you do fall victim act fast, contact your bank and the police.”
Banburyshire Advice Centre advises that residents should never give personal details out to anyone over the phone regardless of who they claim to be.
Suspect calls or emails can be reported on the Action Fraud website, or by calling 0300 123 2040. If you think you have been a victim then contact police on 101.