SCAM ALERT – please tell your tenants and landlords

by Mark Alexander

15:17 PM, 23rd July 2011
About 9 years ago

SCAM ALERT – please tell your tenants and landlords

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SCAM ALERT – please tell your tenants and landlords

Thank you to Susanne, a landlord known to us via the Property tribes forum, for sharing the following story with us.

Please share this story with your tenants (or landlords if you are a property professional) and indeed your friends and family.  We have a number of convenient sharing options including email, facebook and Twitter at the foot of this article.

Susanne’s email was as follows:-

I received a call from a ‘representative’ of BT, informing me that he was dis-connecting me because of an unpaid bill. He demanded payment immediately of £31.00 or it would be £118.00 to re-connect at a later date.

The guy wasn’t even fazed when I told him I was with Virgin Media, allegedly VM have to pay BT a percentage for line rental!

I asked the guy’s name – he gave me the very ‘English’ John Peacock with a very ‘African’ accent – & phone number – 0800 0800 152.

Obviously the fellow realized I didn’t believe his story, so offered to demonstrate that he was from BT. I asked how & he told me to hang up & try phoning someone – he would dis-connect my phone to prevent this. AND HE DID !!

My phone was dead – no engaged tone, nothing – until he phoned me again.

Very pleased with himself, he asked if that was enough proof that he was with BT. I asked how the payment was to be made and he said credit card, there and then.

I said that I didn’t know how he’d done it, but I had absolutely no intention of paying him, I didn’t believe his name or that he worked for BT.

He hung up.

I dialed 1471 – number withheld.

I phoned his fictitious 0800 number – not recognized., so I phoned the police to let them know. I wasn’t the first! It’s only just started apparently, but it is escalating.

Their advice was to let as many people as possible know of this scam. The fact that the phone does go off would probably convince some people it’s real, so please make as many friends & family aware of this.

How is it done?

This is good but not that clever.. He gave the wrong number – it should have been 0800 800 152 which takes you through to BT Business.

The cutting off of the line is very simple, he stays on the line with the mute button on and you can’t dial out – but he can hear you trying  (This is because the person who initiates a call is the one to terminate it). When you stop trying he cuts off and immediately calls back.

You could almost be convinced!

The sad thing is that it is so simple that it will certainly fool the elderly and vulnerable.

By the way this is not about getting the cash as this would not get past merchant services – it is all about getting the credit card details which include the security number so that it can be used for far larger purchases”.


Mark Alexander
Mark and his family have been investing in property since 1989, initially in the Norwich area but more recently across the length and breadth of England. Mark created Property118.com as a social network for landlords with a vision of becoming the UK’s largest online property investor directory.
Mark’s experiences and strategies as a landlord are shared here

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Comments

8:27 AM, 28th July 2011
About 9 years ago

Hello
I read with interest the detail of the scam and was amazed to see ‘Mr Peacock’ appear again

We have had a scam who I think is possibly the same person.

In addition to our property portfolio in the UK we have 6 villas in Spain that we rent out as holiday lets.

We received an enquiry from a ‘Mr Peacock’ (by email as normal) who asked several questions that would appear to be normal in perfect English so there had been maybe 6 or 7 emails before he said yes please could he book the villa – we then sent the booking form which has the details of our bank account on it for payment. The first thing that made me suspicious was that he then asked if he could pay in euros and was there a euro account he could use – which I sent the information in case he was genuine.

He then sent a ‘copy’ of his passport and asked if he could have a copy of ours to prove that we existed and were not scammers !! I would not send the copy so he asked for a signed copy of the contract.

This immediately rang alarm bells and I rang both banks to explain we had a problem. (I had not sent the copy of the passport or signed contract but other people may not be aware of the scam)

The gentleman then rang our Spanish Bank and pretended to be stuck in an airport with no money and asked if they would make a transfer – as I had alerted the bank they said no – but the problem with Spanish Banks is that they do accept faxed details about transfers – Mr Peacock would have had all of the info he needed to get money from our account.

He would have been quite disappointed as we use 2 accounts – one to receive money and then immediately transfer it to another account to ensure this problem never happens.

Apparently this type of problem is not as easy with UK banks as they have more stringent rules about transfers etc. but it is a problem in Spain where they accept faxes.

We have been victims of fraud in the past where a false passport (with all of the correct details of my husband plus a picture of the fraudster !) was used in a branch of a bank to obtain money so I am more aware of the problem – most people do not realise how important it is not to give anybody a copy of their passport.

If you offer rentals abroad it is important not to give anybody your bank account information AND your signature - if they are unsure whether the property exists we send a sample of the deeds from the notary with our NIE numbers removed.

10:08 AM, 28th July 2011
About 9 years ago

This scam was also rife a few years ago - beware!!

10:24 AM, 28th July 2011
About 9 years ago

on this story i wonder if any of you check the mail to your properties i do and recently there has been a growing no of mail to the properties with names i do not recognise from banks and collection agencies ,we have invisible tenants with bank accounts and cards arriving , collection letters from services in fictitious names ,it takes a lot of time to deal with these individually ,the banks in the uk are a joke they open accounts for anybody without asking for tenant id like contract ,no person is allowed to open accounts without fixed aboad and tenants are allowing friends to open accounts using their addresses this is fraud , i will not allow this to happen because it gives my addresses a bad name , regards

11:45 AM, 28th July 2011
About 9 years ago

Of course the other problem which is rife at present is the gentlemen with slightly foreign accents who call you from "Microsoft" claiming that there is a problem with your computer and, if you are fooled, then proceed to "help" you to remove this problem. The process will invariably involve the injection of some malware into your machine and the necessity to spend much money to remove same. Again, the older, lesser experienced who are being forced into the computer age by the necessity to have e-mail facilities are those who will be fooled by such a scam.

11:51 AM, 28th July 2011
About 9 years ago

Hi Ian

One of my own family members actually fell for that scam.

Thanks for raising it.

Regards

Mark


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