Oban businessman fights back against fraudsters

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A business owner turned the tables on fraudsters who thought they could trick him into handing over his bank details.

Tony Cave, owner of Craigard Decor, Oban, received a suspicious message to his business number purporting to be from ‘Visa Card Fraud Department’ but immediately suspected it was a scam.

Tricksters said he needed to call back about a suspicious £100 transaction on his account.

Tony had 20 years’ experience with the Royal Bank of Scotland and worked as a business manager before setting up his own business in Craigard Road.

He knew Visa would never ask customers to give out details such as card numbers over the phone so decided to put the people behind the nuisance call on the spot.

As a voice answered: ‘Visa Card Fraud department, how can I help you?’ Tony asked them: ‘You tell me?’

He challenged the trickster to first provide his card number, balance and direct debits before being prepared to discuss his account over the phone.

The flummoxed scamster quickly became abusive at Tony’s line of questioning and slammed the phone down on him.

Tony believes the call originated from Africa and said: ‘I told him it was a scam and the guy at the other end of the line basically wasn’t very happy that I told him it was a scam!

‘They prey on vulnerable people and those who are buying a lot of stuff at this time of year and are more susceptible.’

Tony is also the chairman of business group Bid4Oban and urged local companies and residents not to be taken in.

‘I’ve spoken to other people about it and they have said they have had phone calls recently as well,’ said Mr Cave.

He also received three phone calls saying that a £90 direct debit to Amazon Prime was going to be deducted from his bank account unless he rang back – when he is not a customer of the subscription service.

A Visa spokesman confirmed it would never call or email cardholders to request personal account information.

Visa said: ‘If you believe you shared personal or card account information by responding to a malicious email, text message, or telephone conversation, please call the phone number on the back of your card immediately.

‘In addition, report all suspicious emails, texts and calls to phishing@visa.com.’

Visa’s network of internet and mobile security partners can get to work and ‘disrupt’ fraudsters if they hear about cases, it said.

Marjorie Gibson, of Scotland’s national consumer advice service, consumeradvice.scot, said scam calls can be ‘deeply upsetting’.

She said: ‘Fraudsters seeking to steal money from people always look for opportunities, such as the rise in online shopping at this time of year in the run-up to Christmas.

‘We urge businesses and individuals in Oban to be on their guard.

‘By remaining vigilant, checking the source of engagement, and avoiding making decisions in the moment, consumers can ensure that they don’t fall foul of attempted scams.

‘Any scams should be reported to us so that we can gather intelligence, pass instances to Trading Standards, and help take action against those responsible.’

For more information, visit http://www.visasecuritysense.com