Building up trust over a series of phone calls can lower your defences, ready for the scammer to take advantage.

When you hear the word grooming, you might think of terrorism or sexual predators. But it’s a tactic being used to terrifying effect by financial scammers too.

This fact was brought home to me recently when the next-door neighbour of my parents was nearly caught out by a scammer who softened her up over a series of phone calls, which could have seen them make off with tens of thousands of pounds.

Bank scams: how to get your money back

Laying the groundwork

We’ll call the victim in this case Daisy.

The scam started with the first phone call. The scammer introduced himself, said he worked for Barclays’ fraud team and that he had spotted a suspicious payment on Daisy’s account. Would she like for him to block that payment?

In truth, there was no such payment ‒ this was just an easy way to win Daisy’s trust. The scammer had been able to make use of phone number spoofing so that the number he was calling from appeared to be a genuine Barclays number.

This was then exploited a couple of days later with a second call.

Again, the scammer said that he had spotted something suspicious on the account that he could stop, only this time he needed her to put her debit…

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