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29 November 2014, 06:01 | Updated: 29 November 2014, 06:02
Business owners are being warned about a telephone scam after Peterborough companies had cash stolen from their bank accounts.
Criminals take significant amounts of money by pretending to be calling from a bank and convincing firms to give out their account details.
The callers tell victims that possible fraudulent activity has been detected on their accounts and threaten that their banks will not be held liable to reimburse money lost as a result of the alleged security breach.
The scammers stay on the line after the victim ends the call and then use a quirk of the telephone system to answer the next call the victims make, claiming they are customer service advisers.
Peter Stonely, principal trading standards officer for Peterborough City Council, said: "Our number one message is never give out account details or your pincode to a caller over the phone who claims to be from your bank, as your bank would never ask for these details.
"If you receive such a call and you wish to confirm if there is any threat to your account, use a separate phone or separate phone line to call the bank.
"Under no circumstances use the same phone to make this call. As a result of our telephone system, this will re-connect to the fraudulent caller who has, unknown to you, remained on the line after the original call and will pretend to answer as a customer service adviser.
"However, if you use a separate phone you will be connected to your bank, who will confirm if there are problems with your account or if you have been the target of a scam.
"Businesses can lose significant sums through this scam and may not be entitled to any reimbursement because, in the eyes of the banks, they 'authorised' the fund transfers."
For more information, or to report a scam, call the Citizens' Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06.