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scam calls - watch out for fake ombudsmen

8 March 2016

We've heard that people are getting fraudulent emails or phone calls from scammers claiming to be from the Financial Ombudsman Service. The scammers are falsely using our name to try to persuade people to reveal details about their personal and financial circumstances.

The Financial Ombudsman Service 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.

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.

If you've received an unexpected email from someone who says they work at the ombudsman service - but it seems suspicious and you want to check it out - please phone us directly on 0300 123 9 123. Watch out for “number spoofers” too. This is when fraudsters use technology to make it look like an ombudsman number is calling you. If in doubt, always hang up.

To help protect yourself generally from scam communications, you should:

  • never reveal any personal details - such as your address, phone number etc - unless you're absolutely sure that the person you're dealing with really is who they say they are;
  • never give out any of your banking or credit card details unless you know for certain that the request is genuine; and
  • never give anyone your security information, such as your internet/telephone banking password or log-on details (no genuine banking firm ever asks you to provide this information).

For more information on how to protect yourself against online scams and rip-offs, get in touch with ActionFraud - the UK's national fraud and internet crime-reporting centre.

media enquiries

  • press office - phone 020 7964 1234
  • out of hours - phone 0771 8658 306

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