Scammers are pretending to be from the Financial Ombudsman Service to try and trick victims into handing over personal information, the watchdog has warned.
Fradusters are falsely claiming to be calling from the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) to try to persuade people to reveal details about their personal and financial circumstances - and they are even managing to make FOS's number appear on people's caller ID.
The ombudsman - which sorts out complaints between financial businesses and their customers - doesn't write to or phone people out of the blue to ask for personal information. It will only contact you if you've been in touch to register a complaint, and even then it would only speak to you about that complaint.
It's also a free service and would NEVER ask you for money. It also wouldn't pay you compensation directly.
As scams get clever, we need to too, see our 30+ Ways to Stop Scams to avoid getting caught out.
I've been caught out - what should I do?
If you've been contacted by someone pretending to be from the FOS, you should contact the ombudsman on 0800 023 4567.
Remember though, even if this number appears on your caller ID when you get an incoming call, it isn't necessarily the FOS.
If you've given out personal information, call your bank and let it know.
You can also report the scam to the police through Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040, or report a scam anonymously on its website.
What does the FOS say?
A Financial Ombudsman Service spokesperson said: “Criminals use a wide range of tactics to defraud people, even stooping so low as to pretend to from our service. If you’re suspicious about a call you’ve received, hang-up, check the line is clear, then call back by dialling our helpline number.
“We update our website whenever we hear fraudsters are actively trying to con people in our name; and pass the information we get from our customers onto Action Fraud – the agency that works closely with the police to tackle fraud crimes.”