Home Office UK, Scammer Alert!!

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Today’s experience was a bit too much!

I received a call from +442070354848 – the official number of HMRC (which I didn’t know when I picked up the call), but the call got disconnected as soon as I answered.

After a few minutes, I received another call with no caller ID, and this time it was a person claiming to be from HMRC. I knew he was a scammer, so I decided to play along and understand their current strategies.

Initially, he greeted me with a strong, commanding voice and started confirming my details to ensure he was speaking to the right person. He stated my name, date of birth, passport number, and visa number, which was more information than usual scammers possess. Intrigued by the details he provided, I asked about the purpose of the call.

He didn’t say anything and instead asked me if I had committed any crimes earlier or used drugs and alcohol. I responded that I had a clean background.

Then the scammer instructed me to open Gov.uk and search for the Home Office, and then click on the first result, which was: Home Office UK https://www[.]gov.uk/government/organisations/home-office. He told me he was calling from the office of James Cleverly MP about a complaint filed against me and asked me to scroll down and check the “Contact Home Office” section.

There, I saw the telephone number 02070354848, which was the same number I had received the missed call from just a few seconds before the scammer called.

Ah! This was a bit fishy, and my cyber instincts were fully charged!

As he was speaking and confirming if I had received a call from the above number, I said yes. Then, on the next line, there was another number listed as Minicom: 02070354742, and he asked me to confirm if I was getting a call from this number as well.

He used this to convince me that he was legitimate, as I received a call from the Minicom number while he was speaking.

This led me to suspect that a person sitting in the Home Office was trying to scam people!

He then started asking more questions, trying to implicate me in drug or illegal money laundering activities.

Suddenly, I was distracted and had to cut the call, but in the back of my mind, I was thinking, this was unusual, so I decided to report it to the Home Office’s official email ID, although I don’t know if it was seen or acted upon.

I want to bring this to the public’s attention, as well as to NCSC, the Home Office, and my fellow mates in the cyber world.

As someone in the cybersecurity field, I have never faced such a sophisticated scam where I received a call from an official number!

Moreover, I never share my real full name, passport number, or visa number publicly.

Respective people from UK Home Office, UK Cyber Security Council & National Cyber Security Centre might need to take a deeper look into their systems and personnel to ensure no data is being misused.

curse words alert! LOL…:)

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Update: 15th March 2024

The calls are being spoofed and no regulations are still in place by service providing companies, as there is SPF records for email, there must be some regulations that needs to be baselined to avoid such issues. .. But after digging more why this was not implemented I got to know that all companies including VoIP providers must agree to this and come to a common ground to make such baseline, also just for our readers information these companies do not identify phone numbers as unique identifies for calling, its just a dialling number and no guarantee that you are calling to that number even today!, but the redirections to reach to the numbers you have called is being managed in a best way, legally you phone number is not a unique ID.!!

Remember long back we just had phones, no caller ID and we just picked th phone and then said hello, later companies started charging extra for caller ID based phones and then it was understood by all the users that Caller ID is the base/ phone number is the base identifier… But its NOT!! ..even i am surprised to know this fact in 2024!