Mobile phone fraud

  Flak999 14:57 15 May 2013

A bit of advice needed please. My Mother who is 85 and partially deaf has been receiving requests for payment from Orange and O2 in respect of mobile phone contracts which have been opened in her name by an unknown third party.

These requests have taken the form of written requests for payment of varying amounts from £30 to £99. She is not unnaturally rather worried about this matter and she has asked me to attempt to resolve this problem for her.

I have contacted both the companies concerned and have had varying degrees of success, O2 have been very helpful and I appear to have resolved satisfactorily the issue with them. However Orange is proving more difficult, once I eventually manage to circumvent their extremely convoluted automated answering system and actually get to speak to a human being, said person is located on the Indian subcontinent.

With the background noise of the call centre and the difficult to understand Indian accent, a two way conversation is nigh on impossible. They keep repeating that they will only talk to my Mother, I try to explain that she is very hard of hearing and is easily confused, but this does not seem to form part of their repetitive answers taken from their customer support flow chart.

What should my next move be? My Mother has obviously fallen victim to some sort of ID fraud, we have contacted her bank and her payment cards have been cancelled and reissued, what steps can I take next to try to resolve this matter?

  spuds 15:18 15 May 2013

When this type of event happens, it can get very difficult to resolve. I believe the BBC Watchdog website might have something about this, other options might be Ofcom or Martin Lewis, who are interest in this topic.The Met Police also have a fraud section looking into this. Own websites available for all four suggestions.

  Forum Editor 15:34 15 May 2013

A very similar thing happened to me some time ago. I received a letter from one of the big networks, asking me to contact them about my PAYG account. I didn't have a PAYG account with them, or with anyone else. I contacted them, and - you've guessed it - somebody had opened an account in my name, using my credit card details. Whoever it was had then proceeded to top up the account with frequent large amounts, and eventually the network software smelt a rat.

My card had been charged a total of £1600 inside a month before it was spotted.

I obviously didn't have to pay, the card was cancelled, as was the PAYG account, but when I asked for details about where the fraud had started, and by whom, the shutters came down - they wouldn't tell me anything, because they said they had a legal obligation to protect the personal data of the thief.

I contacted the UK Data Commissioner about it, pointing out that as it was my name and my card details involved I felt that I should at least know where the account had been opened. The Data Commissioner backed the phone company; to this day I haven't a clue where this all happened.

The Orange call centre person is quite right to say that he/she will only talk to the account holder; I support them in that, because it's the law. They are able to talk to a third party, provided the account holder gives consent.

For a small fee (about £20 p.a. I believe) the The UK Fraud Prevention Service, CIFAS, will place what's called a protective registration on a person's credit files with the UK credit reference agencies. This alerts credit providers to the fact there has been a problem, and ensures that that any future applications for financial services in that person's name are looked at particularly closely. It doesn't have an adverse effect on the creditworthiness of the person concerned.

Call them on 0330 100 0180 or go to their website

  Flak999 15:56 15 May 2013

spuds, Forum Editor

Thanks both, for the information. I will contact CIFAS and see what they advise. I can understand the reticence of institutions when dealing with third parties, but when in this case my Mother is elderly confused and very deaf, and lives in Lincolnshire whilst I reside in NW London. It does make the giving of permission for me to operate on her behalf, to another person in India somewhat of a problem!

I do feel that in cases such as this some latitude could be granted?

  Nontek 16:43 15 May 2013

There is currently a BBC1 morning program running called Don't get Done, get Dom, perhaps you could contact that program, Dom personally takes over to sort out peoples problems - your case is typical of the cases Dom takes on.

  Woolwell 12:11 16 May 2013

Which number are using to contact Orange? They do have UK call centres as well as India. It may be worthwhile ringing one of the numbers listed here Ofcom cellular operators.

  Flak999 14:32 16 May 2013


Thanks for that information, I did actually use the 0800 783 5021 number and it was from this that I ended up in India!

  Woolwell 15:08 16 May 2013

I don't know if this number 08703765500 still works but it may get you a person who is based in UK.

  spuds 17:00 16 May 2013

If all the other suggested avenues fail, you could try [email protected] or 01707 315000. That should get you the CEO of Orange or his office team.

  VCR97 20:07 16 May 2013

When I had a problem with the Indian call centre I asked to be transferred to a UK number. That worked.

  Flak999 22:58 21 May 2013

Just a quick update on this. I have heard back from Orange and O2 and I am pleased to be able to tell you that both companies have written to my Mother informing her that both accounts have been closed and that her credit records have been amended to show that she has been a victim of ID fraud.

Both companies have placed a CIFAS marker against her name to hopefully ward off any future fraud attempts.

Case closed, I hope!

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