A BUSINESSMAN has been reunited with most of the life savings he lost to fraudsters who cloned legitimate bank phone numbers to trick customers.

Philip Moore said his world fell apart when he lost more than £32,000 after a man who called himself David rang from NatWest’s listed customer services number at around 8.30pm on September 7.

A series of phone calls followed over the next three days where the man, who claimed to be based in Bristol, told the father of three that fraudsters were trying to hack his business accounts and make thousands of pounds of withdrawals.

He urged him to move all his money from his business and personal accounts to a holding account set up in his name with Barclays.

He stayed on the phone while Mr Moore, who runs wood burner, fire and radiator company Craftstone of Sussex in Seaford, transferred £19,950.00 online and £12,326 in person at the town’s branch.

It was only when the 41-year-old rang back later to ask a question that he discovered no such employee existed.

He called Action Fraud, the police body which investigates such crimes, and the bank but for days no one could tell him where the money had gone.

In desperation he contacted The Argus in a bid to prompt action and to warn others of the scam.

Mr Moore said within two days of a reporter contacting NatWest, he had £26,000 back.

Mr Moore said: “I am just so relieved. Losing that money meant I had to put a new business venture on hold and I was thinking I would have to re-mortgage my house.

“I honestly did not know how I would make ends meet. I’m so glad I called The Argus. It is not a coincide that after I rang things began to happen.”

Police are still trying to recover the remaining money and Mr Moore remains concerned that breaches in the bank’s security enabled the scammers to target him.

He hopes the bank will investigate whether the scammer had been an employee and look at protocols for cashiers handling large transactions to detect fraud victims.

NatWest insisted there were protocols in places, including extra security questions asked, and any concerns from customers would be taken seriously.

A spokesman said: “Scammers are becoming increasingly sophisticated and we’d encourage our customers to be especially vigilant when transferring large amounts of money.”


POLICE have been working with Ofcom to take steps to help phone providers stop the growing trend of crime in which detection and prevention are more difficult as the offenders tend to be based overseas.

A Sussex Police spokesman said: “Fraudsters will convince the victims to inadvertently transfer funds into their bank accounts. Once that transaction is completed, it is often very difficult to trace and recover the money.

“If the victim is not considered to be vulnerable, the national law enforcement procedure is to advise the victim to contact Action Fraud, which is what happened in this case.”