Scammers target elderly people posing behind businessman’s number

David Wall of Wroxham has been targeted by number spoofing. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

David Wall of Wroxham has been targeted by number spoofing. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

A businessman says his company has received hundreds of calls from confused elderly people after fraudsters illegally cloned its phone number.

David Wall has beseiged by calls after criminals illegally used his businesses' landline and began asking those who answered for charitable donations.

This is called 'number spoofing', whereby fraudsters clone a telephone number to gain the trust of their victims by appearing as a verifiable source.

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However if people missed a call from the number, which appears as Mr Wall's number at his vintage and classic car business, they are calling him back.

"It started over the bank holiday weekend," Mr Wall said. "I had a couple of messages from people saying they had missed a call from my number. I just thought someone had popped in and made some calls from the office."

He continued: "By the time I got back the answer phone was full. We were receiving between one and two hundred calls a day.

"We've stopped answering and have put a message on our phone explaining the situation."

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Mr Wall's company, David Wall Wroxham, repairs vintage cars as well as providing wedding car hire services.

The business owner said his concern is not losing business from legitimate callers, but is for the people who answer the phone or dial an unknown number back.

He said: "I think the data of a certain type of person has been leaked. These are all people of a certain age and they won't believe me when I tell them I haven't called them.

"I haven't heard of anyone who has made a donation to this supposed charity but I haven't been answering the calls."

He added: "It's worrying not only that these people are being targeted, but that they're calling back numbers they don't recognise. What if they called back a number that charged?"

Mr Wall established his business in Wroxham in 1979, and has a garage in Wroxham as well as a workshop in Hoveton.

He added: "It hasn't been stressful for me, you don't run a business for this long and get stressed about this sort of thing. What it has shown me though is a new side of human nature."