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I’ve had a fairly bizarre episode involving this number recently, involving a number of silent calls and distorted automated answerphone messages, purporting to be from Natwest Bank and asking me to call a number I’ve never heard of.
Obviously this sounds like a scam, and I duly wrote it off as such. But the calls persisted, so I searched online for the number, finding nothing but message boards full of people trying to find out more information on the number.
Some messages reported it as a scam while others said it actually was Natwest’s fraud department. Paranoid, I wondered whether the latter were placed there by scammers desperate to make it look genuine.
So I searched Natwest’s site, including my online bank account. No answer there. In the end, figuring that the worst I could lose was a couple of quid, I phoned the number to hear the same voice talking me through the process.
Every now and then the voice of what sounded like a drunken American would say “Mr Robin Brown”. Eventually I was asked to confirm my date of birth. At this point I hung up.
Baffled by the messages I phone my local branch, where I was told that it was very unlikely that my bank would be leaving such messages. Still, the helpful chap on the other end of the line checked my file.
Surprise, surprise it actually was Natwest’s Fraud department, wanting to know if I’d recently bought a new computer. In the meantime they’d frozen my bank account, so it’s a good job I wasn’t stranded in the Orkneys with only my debit card for help like on that advert.
I was impressed by the speed and efficiency of the actions of the bank, but I was also baffled by the enigmatic way the bank had tried to contact me.
A call from my local branch would have made most sense, where a cagey exchange of personal detail confirmations suffices on most occasions. Even a note on my online banking page would have made more sense.
As it was I spent a dinner hour puzzling over whether my bank was trying to contact me over some dodgy account transactions or whether an African scammer was trying to play for a mug.