There is a con trick being worked that would probably catch out even the most cynical of us.

Your office or loved one calls you on your mobile whist you are abroad.

With  a special scanner the call is intercepted prior to you answering it. ( This is basically a West African con but can be used in any country).

Any caller when your phone is being answered by a unknown voice, will  normally ask "can I speak to John?" (for example).

They have your name now. The answer comes back, "John has been in a very serious accident and has been rushed to hospital, I have the telephone number there and don't worry, he dropped his cell phone but I will get it back to him".

Your caller calls the number and gets put through to the administrator or similar.

" Have you admitted a Mr John X?" (They didn't know your surname until your caller said it).

"Yes we have, he is badly wounded, he's been accidentally shot, he is in intensive care but needs an operation to remove the bullet. However we do have a problem, he is a foreign national and we have no evidence of travel insurance. The regulations in this country do not allow us operate without guaranteed payment. He is very sick and has lost a lot of blood, he must be operated on within an hour. Can you transfer funds just for this first operation and then it can all be sorted out on insurance later? We only need £700-£800 now and we can take credit card or direct transfer".

Your caller is in an impossible position, concern for you will cloud their judgment and to them inaction will mean your probable death in an hour!

Meanwhile you're in the bar having a beer, oblivious to what's happening. You won't get a call because your caller believes you dropped your phone and you are unconscious.

The foreign office recommended procedure if anyone gets into this situation is to cross check the hospital name with directory enquiries and the name of the contact with the hospital.

Another giveaway is that to aviod detection the hospital number is normally a mobile, again this can be easily determed.

If your caller is suspicious they should use another made up surname i.e."Have you admitted a Mr John Pettigrew ?" The chances of  a real John Pettigrew being recently admitted to a foreign hospital are somewhat remote.

"Just to confirm that we are talking about the correct person before we send money"; ask them for your physical description i.e. height, weight, colour of hair and/or "Does he have a tattoo on his left hand?" etc (They cannot know either way).

Brief your potential callers, if they get hit with this type of thing, to call you or any of your colleagues who may be with you.

Good luck !