Gold'en rant of the week : Incoming call authentication - who's really calling?

Last Sunday morning I took a call on the home number - flagged up as an 0845 call - from HSBC's credit card department.

The Indian guy told me he was the bank's anti-fraud section and requested to take me through bank security, which involves giving a series of letters and numbers from your banking passwords.

Ever suspicious, I refused and called the guy back. It turned out the call was genuine and someone had tried a fraudulent online charge on

our card account at the Interflora Web site. How ironic...

Naturally I cancelled the cards and a new set are on their way.

I then remembered a news report on the growing problem of US voicemail systems being hacked.

This means that I could have called back on the caller's 0845 number and still be connected with a fraudster.

After chatting about the problem of verifying inbound calls from financial institutions with a few industry pals, it appears there is no real solution to the issue.

Basically there is no sure-fire way of verifying it really is your bank or card issuer calling.

That's not to say the banks and card issuers couldn't develop a system. Unofficially the banks tell me there's no demand for such a service.

Well, I reckon there is - what do you think?