Banks Add to Confusion as Scammers Target Thomas Cook Customers
Experts are urging Thomas Cook customers not to respond to unsolicited messages in the wake of the UK travel company’s bankruptcy, as scammers are trying to harvest their bank details.
The 178-year-old firm collapsed on Monday, leaving a £3bn black hole in its balance sheet and 150,000 holidaymakers stranded abroad.
However, like any high-profile incident, scammers have been jumping on the news to try and part consumers with their cash.
Reports soon emerged of customers being cold called by individuals claiming to work for a company ‘refund agent’ and requesting their bank or card details to reimburse them.
Adding to the confusion, UK banks have been sending unsolicited text messages about the bankruptcy to customers, some of which contain links and a phone number.
According to tweets cited by consumer rights group Which? some of the messages were sent to individuals who hadn’t even booked holidays with Thomas Cook, adding to the sense that they may be a scam.
“We’ve heard worrying stories of criminals trying to scam people affected by the collapse of Thomas Cook, so while the messages being sent by some banks might be well-meaning, this flawed approach will only be adding to the confusion customers are facing,” said Which? consumer rights expert, Adam French.
“Our advice is to ignore unsolicited calls and texts, and avoid sharing your card or bank details. Anyone looking to claim back the cost of their flight through their debit or credit card provider should contact their bank directly themselves.”
In the wake of the travel agent’s collapse, Action Fraud urged consumers to be vigilant about potential scams and to not click on links in unexpected messages.
“Legitimate organizations will never contact you out of the blue and ask for your PIN, card details, or full banking passwords. If you get a call or message asking for these, it’s a scam,” the UK’s national fraud reporting center added.
“Remember, your bank or the police will never ask you to transfer money out of your account, or ask you to hand over cash for safe-keeping.”