Cold Callers on the phone have graduated from being a nuisance to being one of the most serious threats to peoples’ wealth and, probably worse, to the theft of their identity. This is now seen to be so potentially serious that the UK government are ‘exploring options to provide free devices to people identified as being at higher risk of financial damage and personal distress as a result of nuisance calls’. You can read more here.

Types of Phone Scams

There is a link from each Type listed that gives a more detailed explanation of how these scams are perpetrated.

Vishing: You receive a phone call from what appears to be a legitimate company, bank or police. They will try to persuade you that there is a problem with your account (or some similar, almost credible tale) and will ask you to transfer money to a safe account (to which they have access and can withdraw your money).

Courier scams: You will get an unsolicited call or text saying your card has been compromised, used fraudulently and your card needs to be collected urgently.

Number spoofing: Scammers employ cheaply-available technology to mimic the telephone number of the organisation they want to impersonate and then make it appear on the victim’s caller ID display.

What should you do?

These fraudsters are trying to get you to reveal critical details that will enable them to access your card or bank account or steal your identity. Never give out your personal information in response to an incoming call, or rely upon the Caller ID as the sole means of identification, particularly if the caller asks you to carry out an action which might have financial consequences.

If someone rings you asking for this type of information, don’t provide it. Instead, hang up and call the phone number on your account statement, in the phone book, or on the company’s or government department’s website to check whether the call was genuine. Before making this call you must check that the line has been cleared. Connect a call to another number, for example, family or friend; use another phone; if neither of these is possible, wait at least 10 minutes before making the call.

Help to Stop Phone Scams

REPORT: scams and suspected scams to Action Fraud;  Tel:  0300 123 2040 or through their website: Action Fraud is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and internet crime. If debit cards, online banking or cheques are involved in the scam the consumer’s first step should be to contact their bank or credit card company.

Protect Yourself

Advice from Citizens Advice

  • Register your number with the Telephone Preference Service,  Tel:  0845 070 0707.
  • Report unsolicited marketing calls to the Information Commissioner’s Office,       Tel:   0303 123 1113.
  • Use a product to block telephone calls.
It is worth noting that the one off cost of one of these call-blocking devices is similar to the annual cost of a good computer antivirus.

Your Experiences

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