Phone Scams UK in 2022

Phone Scams UK in 2022

What is a cold call?

Cold calls are phone calls from companies trying to sell you something, even though you have not asked them to call you. Cold calls are usually illegal and are typically a scam. They are annoying, frustrating and even frightening.

Even though it won't necessarily block scammers, you can register for free with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) to reduce the number of cold calls you receive.

What are some common types of phone scams?

It can be hard to distinguish between a scam and a cold call. However, it's good to know some typical tricks scammers use so you can be prepared.

Bank scams

Someone may call claiming to be from your bank, telling you there's a problem with your card or account. Unfortunately, the caller will often sound professional and may even call you from the same telephone number that your bank calls you from. This is called 'number spoofing'. They will try to convince you that your card has been cloned or your money is at risk.

They may ask for your account and card details, including your PIN, and even offer to send a courier to collect your card. They may also advise transferring your money to a 'safe account' to protect it. Over 500 million pounds were lost to impersonation scams in the UK in 2021.

Banks never ask you to transfer your money into a 'safe account', never ask you to disclose your PIN, or send a courier to collect your card.

Computer repair scams

A scammer may call you claiming to be from the helpdesk of a well-known IT firm, such as Microsoft. They'll tell you that your computer has a virus and will ask you to download 'anti-virus' software, possibly at a cost.

The software is spyware, used to gain access to your PC and your personal details. Legitimate IT companies don't contact customers this way.

One of the best anti-scam teams out there that assist the FBI is 'Scammer Payback'. There channel produces some great advice and has prevented thousands from being scammed.

Scammer Payback - ANTI SCAM ADVICE

"Scammers are ruthless, and that is why I am here. My channel is all about bringing awareness to this critical problem with humor and fun. We will learn a lot of things along the way and if I help one person through this, it will be worth it."

Compensation calls

You receive a call from a company asking about a car accident you've supposedly had, claiming you may be entitled to compensation. Some of these could be genuine companies touting for business, but others are scammers. Don't engage in these calls. Instead, call your insurance company on your policy's phone number if you've had an accident.

If you receive a call from a marketing company asking about your Timeshare, it is a scam. They will try to engage you in conversation and convince you that you qualify for compensation or are on a debtor's list and need to take action. Always do your own research and only deal with FCA or SRA-regulated companies.

HMRC scams

You may get a call from someone claiming to be from HMRC saying there is an issue with your tax refund or an unpaid tax bill. They may leave a message and ask you to call back. Again, don't be fooled by this. HMRC would never contact you this way or ask you to reveal personal financial information, such as your bank account details.

Number spoofing

Scammers now have the technology to mimic an official telephone number, so it comes up on your caller ID display (if you have one on your phone). This can trick you into thinking the caller is from a legitimate organisation, such as a bank or utility company. If you're in any doubt, hang up and call the organisation directly. If possible, call them from a different phone as scammers can keep the phone line open so that even if you hang up and call the organisation directly, the line may still be connected to the scammer. If it's not possible to use another phone, wait at least 10 minutes before you call.

Pensions and investment scams

This is a call about an 'unmissable' investment opportunity or offering you the opportunity to access your pension cash earlier. Unfortunately, thousands of Britsh consumers lose millions yearly in unregulated investment scams.

Nuisance calls about pensions are now illegal. If you receive a cold call about your pension, report it to the Information Commissioner's Office on 0303 123 1113.

What should I do if I get a scam call?

Older people are often a target for scammers, so it's essential to be aware of phone scams and how to handle them. Fortunately, there are things you can do to protect yourself:

  • Don't reveal personal details. Never give out personal or financial information (such as your bank account details or PIN) over the phone, even if the caller claims to be from your bank.
  • Hang up. If you feel harassed or intimidated, or if the caller talks over you without giving you a chance to speak, end the call. It may feel uncomfortable to hang up on someone, but you have the right not to be pressured into anything.
  • Ring the organisation. If you're unsure whether the caller is genuine, you can always ring the company or bank they claim to be from. Make sure you find the number yourself and don't use the one provided by the caller.
  • Don't be rushed. Scammers will try to rush you into providing your personal details. They may say they have a time-limited offer or claim your bank account is at risk if you don't give them the information they need.