Phone fraudsters received a tough reception when they tried to trick a vigilant South Tyneside grandad.
Jim Smith put a con bid on hold when he answered a message from a mystery caller claiming to represent the Ministry of Justice who insisted he could win him thousands of pounds of Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) cash.
I want to warn others and if that stops one person being conned then it will be worth it.Jim Smith
The sharp-witted 70-year-old says alarm bells were ringing when he was asked to divulge his bank card details – and the caller swiftly hung up when he accused him of attempting a scam.
But the pensioner is worried other residents may fall foul of the deception – especially as the caller claims to be representing a Government department.
The Ministry of Justice has confirmed it is not behind the cold calls and is urging people not to reveal personal financial information when they can’t be sure who is on the other end of the phone.
Mr Smith, from Price Street, Hebburn, said: “I am concerned that some people will be taken in as the caller claims to be from the Government.
“When I was asked to reveal my bank card number I knew something was up. He was saying he was from the Ministry of Justice and could get me £6,983 of PPI money.
“He then gave me a code and said I had to keep it secret.
“I asked to receive details in a letter he started to prevaricate. I told him I thought this is a scam and he hung up the phone. I want to warn others and if stops one person being conned then it will be worth it.”
In a statement regarding potential frauds and scams, the Ministry of Justice advises the public that such calls ‘have no connection’ with them or other genuine organisations.
The statement says “These callers have no connection with the Ministry of Justice, or other genuine organisations.
“They may already have some of your personal data, such as your name, address or bank details and may try to obtain more in order to commit identity theft.
“Do not pay any money unless you receive formal written information first and are absolutely confident the organisation involved is legitimate. Consumers are warned not to pass on personal or financial details to these callers.”