Scammers and banks are both reaching out to baffled Thomas Cook customers, making it almost impossible to judge whether the unexpected correspondence is genuine or not, Which? can reveal.
Following the collapse of Thomas Cook on 23 September, scammers are posing as refund agents, attempting to con already concerned and bewildered customers.
Scammers are asking people for credit card details, so they can refund troubled travellers.
Which? Consumer Rights Expert Adam French said 'We've heard worrying stories of criminals trying to scam people affected by the collapse of Thomas Cook, so while the messages being sent by some banks might be well-meaning, this flawed approach will only be adding to the confusion customers are facing.
'Our advice is to ignore unsolicited calls and texts, and avoid sharing your card or bank details. Anyone looking to claim back the cost of their flight through their debit or credit card provider should contact their bank directly themselves.'
To muddle an already confusing picture, some banks also appear to be proactively engaging with their customers through text message - to many this would seem unexpected, out of the blue correspondence.
Think you might have given a scammer your details?
While some customers appear grateful for the proactive communications, others are understandably reaching to banks to ask whether what they've received is genuine or a scam.
Even banks appear confused.
It can be difficult to tell the difference between a scam and a genuine message, as scammers use increasingly sophisticated methods and communications to con us.
It's likely to be a scam if an unexpected call or message asks you to do any of the following:
Here are our top tips for dealing with a suspicious call or message that arrived out of the blue:
UK Finance's advice is to take five minutes when you receive a message out of the blue from someone claiming to be from your bank or a well-known company.
A UK Finance spokesperson said 'Criminals will try to use high-profile events, such as the news of Thomas Cook, as an opportunity to commit fraud and trick people into revealing personal or financial information.
'Banks are committed to tackling fraud and supporting customers impacted by Thomas Cook and we're working closely with our members to help them do so.'
Consumers are urged to follow the advice of the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign: