5 ways to spot a telephone scam

Scammers are becoming increasingly smart when it comes to catching people out. From out of the blue calls to suspicious texts, here are five ways you can tell the difference between a scam and a genuine call.


by Lorna White |
Updated on

1. Calls from your bank

Scammers will sometimes pose as your bank or the police to alert you about fraudulent use of your debit card, credit card or bank account and they will sometimes ask for your PIN number. Your bank nor the police would ever do this so say no.

Scammers will also send texts to your phone too with links that you can click on. Don't click on the link if you think it could be suspicious. Instead, send the text on to 7726 so your mobile phone provider can flag any potential scams. One of the most common scam texts currently circulating is around the Energy Bills Support Scheme.

2. Pushy calls

Scammers can often be very pushy on the phone when trying to sell you something or get information out of you - if they're making you feel uncomfortable, you should hang up. If you choose to hang up, check the line. Scammers can keep your phone line open even after you have hung up. Instead of calling your bank to verify the call on the phone you have just hung up on, try using a different phone or call someone you know to check the line is free. You could also wait 10 - 15 minutes between calls to make sure that any scammers have hung up.

3. Calls about your computer

Sometimes, scammers will pose as technology companies and call to say that your computer or laptop has a virus and ask you to download software to fix it. This software is in fact spyware that will give them access to all your online information.

4. Unrecognisable numbers

Always be wary when accepting calls from unrecognised numbers, especially if they're offering products or services such as pension or life insurance plans. If you're unsure about a number, let the call go to voicemail and see if they leave a message, using it to screen your calls.

If you find out the call is from a scammer, you can block the caller on your device. You can find out how to block calls on your device here.

You can try and trace who called you by checking who-called.co.uk and typing in the number that phoned.

5. Council tax

Some people have received calls from scammers claiming to be from the local council giving you a council tax rebate. Don't fall for it as councils would never phone about a rebate without prior warning.

Handy contacts

If you think you have experienced someone trying to scam you, contact Action Fraud to report a scam - visit their website here or give them a call on 0300 123 2040

Always contact your bank if you receive a call about your bank account or cards that concerns you.

TPS - the Telephone Preference Service is a free service that aims to filter out sales and marketing calls in a bid to reduce the amount of cold calls you receive. You can register by calling 0345 070 0707 or visitingwww.tpsonline.org.uk

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