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Advisers and protection providers become victims of premium-rate callback swindle

Fraudsters posing as customers have been targeting advisers and protection providers in a scam to drive calls to a high-rate telephone number.

Advisers have been receiving calls from people claiming to be interested in taking out a protection policy, requesting a callback to a number starting with 070.

When the adviser returns the call, the fraudsters use delaying tactics to lengthen the duration, including searching for misplaced documents and diverting the conversation away from the protection fact-find.

Industry sources say the perpetrators have even gone as far as submitting false applications for a life policy, leading to a further call back from the provider.

PruProtect was contacted several times by the bogus callers and has alerted other providers to the scam.

PruProtect head of account development Phil Jeynes says: “We were aware of this potentially fraudulent activity immediately as our internal monitoring systems flagged the contact numbers as suspicious. Our fraud prevention team have shared this knowledge with colleagues in the industry, as well as with our internal staff.”

Charges for the calls can be as high as 50p per minute.

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London & Country sales director Michael Aldridge (pictured) says his firm has been contacted at least three times by the fraudulent callers.

He says: “We would urge all intermediaries to be alert to this scam and put the appropriate checks in place – where appropriate it would be worth considering blocking calls to such numbers.”

LifeQuote sales and marketing director Neil McCarthy says: “There seems to be some fraudulent activity in the market targeting financial firms that operate with telephone callback facilities. We have received some cases with 070 numbers – these look like non-geographic numbers but are in fact a variable premium rate phone line.

“There is a risk that a call to these numbers will be charged at an extortionate rate, as has been the case with an insurer partner of ours. We are working closely with insurers and our partners, and steps have been taken internally to act with any suspicious numbers.”

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