Telephone scams are an old tactic fraudsters have been using to deceive people into providing personal and financial information. It is crucial to have security in mind whilst talking to strangers over the phone, particularly when taking cold calls.
Never disclose the following details:
- Any passwords or online banking codes
- Your four digit card PIN to anyone, even if they are claiming to be the bank or police (your bank will never ask for your PIN over the phone or by email)
- Personal details, unless you are completely sure you know who you are talking to.
How to spot a phone scam
Cold calls are often an indication that you are being contacted by someone you do not know. Occasionally companies do reach out to their customers out of the blue for authentic reasons. It is important to always verify who you are speaking to before any further discussions, this can be done by calling the official number for the company they are claiming to be calling on behalf of.
In a Hurry?
Often scammers will pressure you to respond promptly and make decisions in a hurry. It is important to always take a moment to make an informed decision, particularly if a sale is being made and money is being transferred.
Too good to be real?
Scammers may offer you a deal which appears too good to miss. It is important to research whether these offers are being presented by legitimate companies and are not simply being used to entice you. Remember, if a deal appears too good to be true, it usually is.
Can you hear me?
A recent telephone scam residents are being warned of, which could cost a victim thousands, consists of simply answering the question ‘Can you hear me?’ The fraudsters are known to record your voice and use this as a voice signature to make unauthorised payments for products and services you have not used.
Be vigilant when taking calls from unknown or withheld numbers, and if you hear this phrase you are advised to hang up straight away. Kris Hicks of CPR Call Blocker says ‘If you don’t recognise the number, don’t answer. And if you do pick up, and they instantly start asking ‘Can you hear me? Are you there?’ as if they are trying to get you to say ‘yes’ to something, don’t say anything and hang up. It’s fishy, don’t fall into the trap.’
If you have responded to a suspicious call and believe you may be a victim of fraud a central point of contact is Action Fraud. You can report fraud or cybercrime using their online reporting service at any time of the day and they will also provide you with support.