Scammers impersonating Carphone Warehouse have been targeting would-be customers under the pretence of selling a new mobile phone.
Cold calling is big business for scammers. According to the latest scam data from the communications regulator Ofcom, 43% of people received a scam call in the three months up to September 2021.
While we recommend you always hang up on a suspicious call – especially when you're asked to give personal details – we've gone along with this scam to show you how it works, what to watch out for and how to report a call like this.
The scam began with a cold call from a landline number, pretending to be a Carphone Warehouse salesperson with a too-good-to-be-true deal to upgrade to the latest iPhone.
The scammer asked for my email address to send details of the so-called promotion. This was a tactic to convince me the offer was legitimate, while also stealing my email address. But along with the suspicious wording in the email, the game was given away by the odd characters in the sender's email address.
I continued to go along with the scam and provided fake payment details set up for this investigation.
During my first call with the scammers, I was given a number they claimed was a customer helpline. When I later called it, to my surprise it went through and they continued the theatre of the scam.
I later received numerous further phone calls from the scammers on multiple numbers pretending to confirm the payment. They would also talk about the delivery time and other details, to try to throw me off their scent.
Scammers often call back if they need an authentication code to make a payment, spinning a lie to get you to give it to them over the phone. But in this case, the fraudulent payments wouldn't go through as I'd already frozen my account.
In a final move of desperation, they asked if I could give someone else's bank details such as my mum's or siblings'.
A Carphone Warehouse spokesperson said: 'We have been alerted to this scam and in no part has this activity been undertaken by Carphone Warehouse. Unfortunately there are a large number of criminals who are constantly attempting to dupe unsuspecting shoppers.
'We encourage people to be vigilant and ensure that any communications they are receiving from outside parties are genuine before interacting with them.
'At Carphone Warehouse we only call existing customers and customers that have applied for credit checks with us. We don’t call customers who have never shopped or attempted credit with us before. However it is very easy to spoof a phone number and pretend to be any number. Calls should initially be treated as unsolicited.
'We have a number of tactics that we use to help reassure customers we are who we say we are when contacting them, but we don’t make these public as scammers tend to copy them.'