Shoppers beware - mobile phone deals could be a scam
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People looking for a new mobile phone are being warned of a scam where fraudsters are offering deals which don't exist.
We have been alerted by our colleagues at the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) that there is a current ongoing fraud where consumers are being cold called by individuals impersonating staff of legitimate mobile network operators and suppliers.
Victims are offered early handset upgrades, or new contracts, at significant discounts.
Once customers have been convinced that the deals are genuine and agree to proceed, suspects then ask for their online mobile account credentials, including log-ins, address and bank account details.
Suspects then place orders with genuine companies on behalf of victims, however select a different handset to that requested and have it shipped to the customer’s address.
Upon receipt, suspects assure victims that this has been an error and instruct them to ‘return’ the handset to a different address not affiliated to the mobile company.
These addresses are usually residential. Upon intercepting the ‘returned’ handsets, the suspects cease contact and victims find themselves stuck with no phone and liable for the entirety of a new contract taken out in their name.
Be extra careful
A Wiltshire Police spokesman said: "We want people to be extra careful when buying a new phone or upgrading their contract.
"If you’re unsure that the person calling you is an official representative of the company they claim to be from, hang up and do not reveal any personal information.
"It's better to check and be certain rather than fall foul of a fraud.
"There are a number of checks you can make to reduce the chances of being scammed."
• Only contact your mobile network provider on a number you know to be correct. For example, 191 for Vodafone customers, 150 for EE customers, 333 for Three customers, 202 for O2 customers, 4455 for Tesco Mobile, 789 for Virgin Mobile and 150 for Sky Mobile.
• If you receive a device that you did not order or expect, contact the genuine sender immediately. The details for this will be within the parcel.
• NEVER post a device directly to a given address. All genuine Mobile Network Operators would send out a jiffy bag for you to return without you incurring additional cost.
• If you’re unsure that the person calling you is an official representative of the company they claim to be from, hang up and do not reveal any personal information.
If you have been a victim of fraud or cyber crime, report it to Actionfraud.police.uk or call 0300 123 2040.