Phone scams are at an all-time high in the UK, and while I know a lot of us may think that we’re Nigerians and nobody can out-419 us, the records show that more and more people are falling afoul of these yahoo-yahoo boys.
We’re not talking about the ones that even a baby could tell is a scam – all these PPI people or the “Have you been in an accident in the last 3 years?” people. No, the scam artists know that these tricks are tired now, that’s why they’ve got phone bots doing the calling. They have invested in pre-recorded messages on the outside chance that there’s someone out there who has not heard the message before and might actually listen to the end.
The new tricks are more creative, more subtle, and easier to fall prey to. If you follow these guidelines set by the Money Advice Service (MAS) however, you will find that these con phone calls will have one or more of these traits in common:
- You get a call, text, email or letter out of the blue.
- The caller tries to put you on edge by highlighting that you are at risk.
- The caller does not know your name or state which financial institution they are calling from.
- You are asked to give personal details or passwords – your bank will never ask for full passwords or your Pin code.
- You have never heard of the competition you are told you have won.
- You are asked to make an advance payment.
- You are pushed to make a quick decision – scammers do not want to give you time to think.
- You are told to keep it a secret.
- You are told they will call to collect “compromised” cards.
According to Nick Hill, a member of MAS, if you are ever suspicious about a call, simply hang up. He goes on to add: “It is better to hang up on a genuine call and do your research than to risk your personal details and lose your money to a scam”
He further gives tips for dealing with these scam calls:
- If in doubt hang up.
- If you do feel the need to call back, wait at least 10 minutes before doing so on an official number. This way you can be confident of avoiding a ‘no hang up’ call, where a fraudster stays on the line after a call to fool people into revealing information the next time they use the phone. You can also try phoning a friend first before calling back, to ensure the line is indeed clear.
- Never give your personal details or transfer money to someone who has called you out of the blue.
A couple of our tips at Viva Naija that you might want to think about:
- If it sounds to good to be true, it usually is.
- If the caller claims to be from an institution, get a name, department or reference number, then hang up. Call the company’s official number that can be found on their website or any other official literature.
- Never ever part with personal details over the phone unless you initiated contact. Not at first contact anyway.
Good luck, stay safe out there!
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