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Protecting Your Business from Scammers and Fraudsters: Lessons Learned from My Close Call in 2024

I nearly lost my business to a scammer in 2024…….

You’re smart right? You’d never fall for a scam, right? 

Well that was little old me just a few days ago before nearly getting taken for everything. Here’s how it went down and how to avoid it. 

Monday 3rd January 2024. 3:59pm. 

I’m working away on some logo concepts for new client and I see my business bank ‘Monzo’ flash up as in an incoming call on my (mobile) phone. I pick up. 

‘Hi, it’s Andy ***** calling from the fraud department of Monzo, there’s been some fraudulent activity on your account I need to discuss with you’ 

For context, Andy had a British accent, possibly with a slight twang of Welsh perhaps. And my caller ID said, MONZO. 

Andy went on to inform me of some transactions that were attempted on my business account including £432 for car finance, crypto, loans and some other activity. He ran through the each one asking me to confirm if I had made the transactions as the IP was showing they were in Manchester and had been stopped due to them failing the biometric and location based security. 

Wow, thank god for Monzo’s fraud team I thought. Andy then handed my call over to ‘James’, (again British accent) who provided me an FCA case number.

At this point I’ve not confirmed any of my my personal, business or security infomation so I questioned ‘James’ to confirm they were indeed from Monzo about the security and he confirmed I would receive a text from Monzo with a security code that would sit in the same message thread as all my other Monzo messages. I got the message so proceeded with caution, albeit confident enough the call was legit. 

After running through the fraudulent activity again, I was informed I would receive a new card in 2 working days and Monzo would set up a new account for me which would auto direct any incoming invoices and payments automatically, as well as cancel my current business account. This would all be done ‘in App’ and i'd go through the same security protocols I’d used to set my account up initially. Again, seems legit enough. 

As this point I’m probably 30 minutes into the call after trying to determine where the threat and sharing of my data breach may have come from but I’ve been cautious not to disclose my banking info as they’d have that on their screen. The plan was simply to move money from my various ‘pots’ into my main balance before proceeding with setting up my new Monzo business account. 

‘Could you please confirm your sort code and account number’ James asked. 

He’d have that surely? So I questioned this and was informed I’d need to confirm it for security reasons which I refused to do. However, I still wanted to resolve the fraud and secure my account so I thought of a workaround; transfer all of the business funds into my personal current account which seemed to have caught James off guard. 

OK so now a little alarm bell is ringing. James said no problem but I’d have to transfer it BACK before the funds could be transferred to my new Monzo account. Not a chance! 

I told James I had major concerns at this point and would be more comfortable terminating the call, and putting a call into Monzo myself. You actually have to do this Via their App but I did get a call back quickly and was informed there were ZERO fraudulent transactions on my account and James was indeed a POS scammer. PHEW!!!!

I was so close to losing the lot which would have been meant my business was done, finished. 

Monzo (actual) have been very good but I feel like the money could have been lost for good if I’d volunteered any additional info the inbound callers. 

This was easily the most sophisticated scam call I’d heard about. I like to think I’m clued up on scam calls, phishing emails and texts but this one nearly got me! 

What a start to the year. 

Feel free to share with a friend, colleague or family member as these kind of UK based criminal call centres are likely to be doing the rounds and I’d hate to hear of anyone losing their personal or business finances to these scumbags. 

* Side note for Monzo customers. Even if you think you’re on a call to Monzo, there’s a feature on their app which will confirm whether you are or not. While on the call, this feature can be found under the Privacy and security tab on the App. 

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