Restaurant scam targets unsuspecting diners

13 August 2014

Fraudsters are targeting restaurant diners through a new phone scam, according to Financial Fraud Action UK.

The scam works by criminals posing as bank staff and phoning restaurants to inform them of a problem with their card payments system.

To get around the alleged problem, the restaurant is told to redirect card payments to a phone number given by the fraudster.

When the restaurant calls the number, the scammer asks to speak with the diner and asks them a number of 'security questions'. Once the criminals have got the personal details they're after, they speak again to the restaurant staff to put the transaction through.

Armed with the customer's security details, the fraudster then contacts the customer's bank by phone in an attempt to transfer money to their own account using the diner's security details.

Be vigilant

Katy Worobec, director of Financial Fraud Action UK, has warned restaurants to be alert and has the following advice for diners: “It’s important for everyone to be vigilant - a restaurant’s bank will rarely ask to speak to you as a customer. If you’re dining out and are asked to confirm security or personal details over the phone be wary and always make sure the restaurant has checked that the request is genuine.”

She added: "Fraudsters can sound very professional - don't be fooled. If you receive any calls from your bank claiming there is a problem with payments, make sure you phone them on an established number to confirm the request is genuine."

To do this, always wait five minutes to ensure the line is clear, as fraudsters will sometimes try to stay on the phone line and pretend to be your bank.

Financial Fraud Action UK says it is aware of this type of fraud taking place in restaurants in London and across the South East. However, there's nothing to stop fraudsters employing the same deceitful tactics anywhere else, it added.

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