The Financial Ombudsman Service has issued a new warning over imposters using its name to trick consumers into revealing information.
In a note issued today, the FOS says consumers have been receiving fraudulent emails and phone calls from scammers, claiming to represent the ombudsman.
The note warns conmen may use the FOS name to obtain information on the personal or financial circumstances of victims.
It also warns of “number spoofers”, technology that allows scammers to make it look like a call is coming from an ombudsman number.
The FOS says: “The ombudsman is a free service. We will never ask you for money and we don’t pay compensation to you directly. If we’ve investigated your complaint and upheld it, we may tell the business you are unhappy with to pay compensation – but money won’t be paid out by the ombudsman.
“The FOS doesn’t ‘cold call’ consumers, and we never email or phone people out of the blue to ask for personal information.
“We would only contact you if you’ve already been in touch with us to register a complaint – and then we would only speak to you about that complaint.”
An FOS spokesperson says: “We have seen a noticeable uptick in people calling us about this. It’s quite a big jump from being cold called to calling the organisation concerned about it.
“So we think the true number of people facing this kinds of scams is probably quite a bit higher than the number of calls that reach us.”