Telephone scams across the country have become somewhat of a common occurrence in recent years, much like the rise in internet scams. Thousands of people are targeted nearly every day, and in most cases the targeted victims are the elderly and most vulnerable residents, who can easily be tricked into giving over valuable details and money.
Fraudsters are cunning in their phone-scam tactics and it’s not always easy or obvious to tell straight away whether it’s a scam. (Which)
In some of the latest examples of telephone scams, the criminals have been posing as bank managers, GP surgeries, members of the council and even the Police in order to take money and security information from you.
In other telephone scams the fraudsters have been impersonating top companies, some of which you may have done business with in the past. A new television advertisement has recently been released by Barclays portraying a scenario of a telephone scammer obtaining a customers bank details in a sneaky, clever manner in which the scammer turns to the audience and says “see what i did there?” – you can watch the advert below:
Today, we’re going to take a look at what you can do to ensure that you do not become a victim of these horrible scams, and how to spot them too! We’ll discuss some of the most common forms of telephone scams, the tricks they use and what they are aiming to achieve from the calls. We’ve also provided a handy information graphic to break down some of the most important stuff.
Unknown Number – Don’t Answer
The easiest way to avoid telephone scams is to never accept the phone call in the first place. If the number that appears on the screen isn’t one from your contacts book (mobile) or one that you recognise on your landline then don’t answer.
Many of the fraudsters who are trying to contact you will have a private caller ID or have a unique telephone number which does not resemble a usual mobile number or area code.
If the fraudsters happen to leave a message – although this is most unheard of – the best thing to do would be to either ignore the message or to contact the actual company they are posing as. They can then confirm that they have not tried to get in contact with you and can make arrangements to warn the rest of their customers and even inform the police.
Stay safe with your telephone and only answer phone calls from your family and friends – if the company is real and leave a message you can always contact them once you have checked their telephone number.
Never Give Bank Details
Telephone scams often include people posing as your bank. They will contact you over the phone and try to convince you that there is some kind of issue with your account.
Usually they will say that somebody has tried to use your bank details online and that your account is at risk. They will then ask you to pass over your bank information – including your account number, sort-code and your pin. There’s also the trick used in the above video whereby the operator asks for your first and third number of your pin and then apologies they couldn’t hear you, saying “sorry i didn’t get that could you repeat your second and fourth number” – they have then obtained your full pin through this trick.
In extreme cases people posing as your bank will also suggest that you use their ‘courier scheme’. This involves the ‘bank’ sending a courier to collect your ‘hacked card’ before arranging a new one to be delivered to you.
Of course in reality the scammers now have your bank card, your card details, your name and even your home address. This is everything they need to spend all of your hard-earned savings.
Your actual bank would never offer a courier service such as this or ask you to give your personal details over the phone. The simple solution here is to never give your bank details to anybody over the phone. If you do then be prepared – your bank balance could soon be £0.
Don’t Give Access To Your Computer
Other telephone scams which seems to be on the rise in UK are to do with your laptop or computer. These scammers will give you a call and try to convince you that there is an issue with your system, such as a virus or hardware issue.
They say that they can solve this issue if you give them complete control of your PC over the phone. They will promise that they can fix the issue on your system by downloading a program or accessing your settings.
In reality they are actually downloading or inserting a virus on to your system which will give them access to all of your important passwords. In-turn this could lead them to your bank accounts and shopping accounts.
Just like your bank provider – your internet provider and I.T manufacturers would never call you to tell you about a virus on your system.
One thing a telephone scammer hates is questions. They rush you through the details in the hope that you will just say yes to whatever they are asking of you. Remember they are only posing as a member of these big national companies so they won’t know too much about the products themselves.
That’s where you can really hit back and confuse the scammer. This will help prove to you that they are indeed fake and that you are involved in a telephone scam.
Ask questions about the company and all of the products. Chances are they will begin to mix-up their words as, of course, they don’t actually know what they are talking about when it comes to the actual service.
This is an easy way of finding out whether they are legitimate or not.
Telephone Scams – End the phone call
As soon as you realise you are being roped into a telephone scam just end the phone call right there and then. Hang-up and end the discussion before you are tricked into any of the scams above.
You should also locate and block the telephone number if this is possible on your device. If this isn’t possible then you should make a note of the number and pass it around your friends and family so they don’t become a victim either. It’s also worth noting that you can sign up for certain call blocking options with your operator and filter out some of these calls in the future.
A good tip would be to turn-off and restart your mobile phone once you have hung-up any scam calls. Some scammers use a system to stay on your telephone line so it is best to cover this. We also advise reading our handy internet safety guide for the elderly.