Phone Scams – Don’t call us, we’ll call you!

Posted By: Claire Friday 16th April 2021 Tags: , ,
Man on phone

You do not have to have your house broken into or be mugged to get robbed.

Sadly, people willingly give their money to criminals every single day.

Often, the thoughtless, foolish victims accept the shallow lies of distant strangers. The victims pay, often generously, for their folly. Happily, such crimes can largely be stopped with a simple application of some reasonable caution. While losing money you don’t have to, always hurts, losing money because of your own idiocy or ignorance does sting the most.

Most phone frauds are not that sophisticated. They revolve around people saying too much to people they shouldn’t. The simple fix, as every five-year-old knows, is not to talk to strangers.

Here I describe a simple strategy to defeat scam calls. These rules apply directly to phone calls but match social media interactions too.

When you are called by someone you don’t know, remember the following, it’s the essence of what you need to say:

“You are a stranger to me and there are scammers around, I’ll call you back through your main number, tell me who you are, where you are based and what it is you want”

Once this is said and the information has been provided by them, hang up. Find a reliable number using some reliable means and call that number on a different phone. Always find your own number without the caller’s assistance. Do not use any number provided by the potential scammer.

Some qualifications:

What is a reliable number and where do I find one?Use a search engine, UK government sites have ‘.’ on the end. If you have a page or app that you use reliably and regularly to get in-touch with the building society/bank/DHSS/whatever, then use that. If you have a collection of emails or letters reaching back over months and years, that’ll be a good place to find a reliable phone number.
Why use a different phone?Some scammers stay on the line and play a recording of a fake dial tone. The fake dial tone gives the impression that they’ve hung up when they haven’t. Later, this can give the impression that you’ve correctly dialled a reliable number, when in reality you are still talking to the same scammers on the same call. Use a different phone.
Why don’t you use the number they give?Perhaps the number you have been given by them is a premium rate number, which is a common scam. With a call on a premium number, all they ned to do is keep you talking to rob you. Also, the whole point of the exercise is to get a number that is independent of the person calling.

Here are a few points to underline what it is you are doing and why:

StrangersYou never know who you are talking to, so you always treat the people calling you as if they are potential scammers.   ‘Strangers’, includes people who say they’re calling from your bank, the Inland Revenue, the DVLA, Customs & Excise, Microsoft, etc.   People who call from some legitimate authority, where it’s likely that they may be asking for personal information or money, have a duty to show that they are, who they say they are. The genuine callers are all too happy to do that.   Until the identity of a caller is established with certainty, you tell them nothing.
Now!!Scams run on adrenalin and immediacy, the more insistent the stranger is, that you do something now, the more likely it is that you are being robbed.   For example, if you really do owe the revenue some back taxes, they are not going to mind you taking a little time to make sure the call is legitimate before you pay.
But they know me …Just because the caller knows a bit about you, does not mean that they are who they say they are. The internet is awash with personal data that has been volunteered or stolen.   When talking to the person on the phone, do not confirm your name, your address, things you’ve done, places you’ve been, who you bank with, your pets name. Tell them nothing.
Tell them nothing.ALL your personal information has value to a scammer. Don’t divulge your identity or anything else about yourself to them.   Instead, you need to get their details.   You need to get the name of the caller, the name of the department they work in, what the call is about and a contact phone number (for reference only, not for use).
They tell youThe person on the phone must answer all your questions. If they come from the renowned organisation they purport to, they won’t mind telling you how to get-in-touch independently, who they are, where they are working.   Scammers will be reluctant to give you the requested information. Scammers will be reluctant to finish the call.

And that’s it, that covers you for scam calls. Tell them absolutely nothing, get their details, attempt to call them back on another phone, on a reliable number you’ve found yourself.

Straying from the path

These directions are short and simple, but you may feel inclined to deviate. Don’t!

Number spoofingDuring the call, they may ask you to check the number they’ve called from on the phone display. These numbers can be faked, don’t trust them.
They want your nameDon’t give them your name. Tell them nothing. Just ask your questions.   “Can I speak to …” is always replied to with “Who’s calling?”
They need to take you through securityNo, they don’t. They need to answer your questions instead.

Should you have any queries or concerns regarding spoof calls, feel free to get in touch with a member of the team

Email: Tel. 01740 63582

Recent Posts