Yesterday I had a strange and scary phone call.
Scary because it was designed to be so.
I picked the phone up to hear, 'Hello I am calling from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, we have been trying to contact you because we are compiling a case against you.'
I immediately went into panic mode, what must I do? what do they want? co-operate and we might avert this 'case'!
The woman, who spoke with a strange foreign accent, and was on a terrible line, I had trouble hearing what she said, asked me to confirm my name, address and date of birth. She then asked for my national insurance number.
I hope you do not know yours off by heart, I certainly don't and asked if the woman would wait while I tried to find it. At this point Graham said to me, 'How do you know they are genuine?'
Somehow, that cut through my panic and I asked the woman on the phone, 'How do I know you are genuine?'
She gave some sort of reply, but again I had trouble hearing what she said and asked her to repeat it - at which point she rang off.
I tried the dial back code (1471), expecting to get a 'number withheld' message, but to my surprise I got a London telephone number, which I made a note of.
I then found the number of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs and rang them. I explained to the lady I spoke with there what had happened and she looked at their files, assured me they were not preparing any sort of case against me and said, 'It has come up on my system that you are to ring the National Action Fraud Police line.' and gave me their phone number.
I rang the Fraud Police Line, which compiles information for the police on cyber crime and other kinds of fraudulent crimes, such as I suspect was in my case attempted identity theft.
I gave her all the details of the phone conversation, and the phone number I had got from dial back. She said the information would go into the police data base where it could be checked against other similar events. She did say this did not always lead to a conviction, which I can understand, these people are sneaky, that is why they are criminals, they will cover their tracks as much as possible - which is why being able to get a phone number on dial back surprised me.
She asked me how upset I was on a scale, and I was quite upset by the experience.
I suppose you never expect this kind of thing to happen to you. And that phone call was designed to create a panic, so that you do not think clearly, and may well give out information you would not normally give.
And that is why I decided to write about it on my blog.
It did happen to me, and if I can help put anyone else on their guard against these heartless, cruel and evil people, then I will be happy.
Incidentally, as a Witch and proud of it, I have passed their evil on to the ones who can deal with it. The hunt is on.
If you feel you need to contact the Action Fraud Police line the UK number is 0300 123 2040
They can also be found online at www.actionfraud.police.uk and you can check there to find out about the latest kinds of fraud which are doing the rounds.