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The Genial Geordie
11:30 AM ET (US)
Following on from other posters below me, the Barclays 0800 number mentioned in this article is indeed genuine. I telephoned the team on a different number (01604 254 050) and they passed that number on as an additional freephone contact. I didn't have a pen to hand at the time so I typed it into a search box in order to remember it, then Googled it for the hell of it once I had written it down. This article was the first search that comes up. Therefore, for anyone who reads this, the 0800 389 1652 number IS GENUINE...it was passed to me following my contacting Barclays, they did not initiate the correspondence in the first instance.
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02:01 AM ET (US)
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07:35 PM ET (US)
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06:07 AM ET (US)
Charlie: When are you going to remove that Barclays number from your Blog?!!!! There are a lot of people who are going to ignore genuine calls from Barclays Fraud Detection, because your page comes up first when you Google the number. It's great that you're trying to make people aware of these types of scams, but you are doing more harm than good leading people to believe it's a fake number. Please edit the page!
trou ducul
11:56 AM ET (US)
To you managing the blog: PLEASE remove the number 0800 389 1652 from your page. It comes up first when googled and your page implies it's a scam whereas IT IS REALLY BARCLAYS FRAUD LINE!!!

While not at home, someone left a message to call this number urgently .. wanting to be clever, I googled it and found your page. Avoiding the scam of course I felt very intelligent, and didn't call back.

However today I went to my branch to find out that my account was being debited to buy tickets on Kenya airways, so that I was actually being robbed.. now the card is blocked and I hope I'll get my money back.

Bottom line, this page is very missleading and almost permitted my account to be emptied by someone. Nice world out there.
adam sample
05:05 AM ET (US)
i had the same, the call came through from 08000158180 (0800 158 180) and they told me to call 08003891652 (0800 389 1652). i didnt trust them

i then found out that barclays fraud number is 01604 254 050

after all, it turns out that it WAS a real call from barclays. but they did praise me for being diligent.

Even so, never trust people who call you! always call them back on a number that you find out, not neccesarily a number they give you.
11:11 AM ET (US)
Sorry to post on something that isnt much of my business, but I also bank with Barclays and got one of these calls. The 0800 389 1652 number is a genuine Barclays number use by the Fraud Detection dept, though my search on your webpage made me uneasy enough to ring the bank's customer service number and confirm this. There were indeed flags on my account, so it wasn't a sting.
01:43 PM ET (US)
I recently had one of those phone calls that actually turned out to be from my bank! Their helpdesk wasn't, but the caller had claimed to be from the nearby branch so I went in and ranted at the person who had phoned me up a bit about information security...
Jonathan Vos Post
12:54 PM ET (US)
I just got a phishing call from someone rude and stupid even in his profession. "Good morning," he said, "May I please speak with Mr. Post?"

"This is Professor Post speaking," I said.

"Professor of what?" he asked, "Bullshitology?"

I've got a *69 sequence of calls going back to him, that phones him and interrupts his cold calls each time he pauses between potential victims.

Of course, the conversation cut off so soon that I can't be sure that he wasn't just a cold-calling salesman violating our placement on the "do not call" list.

Have you ever gotten people who deny to you that they've gotten you by wrong number, and keep calling back? I've had to call those folks back several times in 2 a.m., 3 a.m., 4 a.m. and other breaks between chapter writing to educate them. And once had the police involved.

And the ones who apologize: "Sorry, I must have gotten the wrong number."

To them I say: "You're welcome, but actually this is only one of billions of wrong numbers."

Give me a break. My B.S. was in Bullshitology.
Jonathan Vos Post
06:58 PM ET (US)
May your prayers to Me be answered.
-- the Eschaton
(p.s. I am NOT a deity)
Charlie StrossPerson was signed in when posted
03:18 PM ET (US)
Antipope.com, last time I looked, was held by an Australian monastery.

I'd buy it, but not for $1710 -- more like, an order of magnitude less.
Jonathan Vos Post
02:47 PM ET (US)
I notice that the domain name www.antipope.com has been offered for sale, with starting price at $1,710. Hmmmm.
09:51 AM ET (US)
Mr. Stross, if you'd like to I can put the Kap Verdian Curse on "Jacob"... though I'm not sure if it works if the offended party(you) has no ancestors from Kap Verde. Are you 100% Scottish?

Jonathan Vos Post
10:44 PM ET (US)
I can't give details, due to confidentiality, but...

An attorney for whom I sometimes do paralegal work was in court last week when a judge ordered the client to write his driver's license number on a certain court document, which already had his name, phone number, and snailmail address. The attorney protested, saying that this exposed the client to identity theft. The judge insisted that this was his order. The opposing attorney said that this was standard operating procedure in this courtroom for this type of case.

My friend, in the hallway, argued with the opposing counsel, who admitted that she herself had once been the victim of identity theft. After some conversation, she realized that the client was now in the same danger.

The attorney returned to his office, where I proofread and made other suggestions for the letter, which the attorney promptly sent to the judge, and to the Judicial Council, pointing out that this court order was, on the face of it, illegal under California State Law. The letter further insisted that the file on the client be redacted, immediately, so that any member of the public asking to see saiud file (public records!) would not see the driver's license number.

The client was a truck driver. Identity theft involving the driver's license would likely, on detection, create a time period in which the license number would be revoked, the guy would have no license, and would lose his job.

In that case, I pointed out, the client could sue the judge PERSONALLY for acting so far beyond his discretion.

So, even if someone with real power over you asks for data that you know you need not divulge, be sure that you're in contact with an attorney who can act promptly to protect you.
Andrew G
10:29 PM ET (US)
Some banks and credit card companies offer single-use or virtual credit card numbers. Citibank is one, I believe. I don't know if they're available in the UK or not though.

For example:

If someone gets that number from a website database, it won't do them much good. Other alternatives are pre-paid credit cards, if you want something physical.
Martyn Taylor
11:27 AM ET (US)

You and I would both like to break 'Jacob's legs, but even if you do find him you'll find his name isn't Jacob and that he hasn't done anything illegal in his country of (probably temporary) residence. That's the really worrying thing. These thieves - like all really succesful thieves - have contacts way higher up the social and judicial chain than we can ever hope to be heard and they will be protected because they buy the protection with remarkably small amounts of their profits. Then there are the regimes as happy to sponsor phishers (ghastly name) as they are hackers (but we can't say anything horrible about the Iranians, the Chinese and the Chechens can we)

As far as phones go, it is a long time since anyone has called me about anything I might want to buy over the phone, and anyone giving me an obviously fake name doesn't even get the 'courtesy' of a 'goodbye'. Like most of us, when I want something, I'll go looking for it and in the meantime I'll shred every offer of a credit card I get.

Were there always so many conmen about, or does the incredible cheapness of contemporary technology enable them to spread their web further and faster, making them seem ubiquitous?
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