Consumers warned over new restaurant scamDiners in London and south east targeted by fraudsters

15 August 2014


Restaurant owners and diners are being warned about a new scam targeting restaurant customers in London and the south east. 

Financial Fraud Action (FFA) UK is urging restaurant goers to stay vigilant when eating out as fraudsters have been posing as bank staff and duping customers into giving out their bank security details.

The scam involves fraudsters calling a restaurant and telling staff that the restaurant payment system is down. 

They then ask the restaurant to redirect any card payments to a new phone number provided by the scammers.

Restaurant phone scam

When the restaurant calls the new number, the fraudsters ask to speak to the unsuspecting customer who is asked to go through their bank security questions.

Once the fraudsters have enough security information, they call the customer's bank and transfer money into their own account using the fraudulently obtained security details. 

If you think you may have fallen foul of a scam, read our guide to how to report a scam.

Getting money back after a scam

Director of FFA UK Katy Worobec said: 'It's important that restaurant owners are alert. Fraudsters can sound very professional - don't be fooled.

'If you receive a call from your bank, make sure you phone them on an established number to confirm the request it genuine. 

Always wait five minutes to ensure the line is clear as fraudsters sometimes try to stay on the phone line and pretend to be your bank.'

Bank intelligence obtained by FFA UK suggests that restaurants in London's West End, Canary Wharf and Twickenham have been targeted. 

If you think money has been taken from your back account read our guide to what to do if there's an erroneous transaction on your credit or debit card.

You shouldn't be liable if money is taken from your account fraudulently as long as you haven't acted negligently. 

Money Advice Service Scam

In a separate scam alert, the Money Advice Service has issued a warning on its website about fraudsters contacting people pretending to be from the service. 

The scammers are typically calling people and pretending to offer advice on debt or pensions and then asking for your bank details or for access to your pension fund.

A spokesperson from the service said it never cold calls people and would never ask for bank details or for access to someone's pension fund.

If you're contacted out of the blue from someone claiming to be from the Money Advice Service, call the service on 0300 500 5000 and report the call. 

More on this...