Living Well at Home
Protecting yourself from scams and crime
Dealing with phone scams and cold calling
Phone scams are on the rise and are a common way to con people out of money.
Not only are phone scams a real problem, but many people also suffer from cold calls, such as unwanted sales calls, which can feel pushy and intrusive.
It can sometimes be difficult to work out when a call is a scam or simply a cold call. Callers can mask their identify using the latest technology and scams are becoming more sophisticated. Knowing some of the most common scams can help you identify them quickly:
- Bank scams are very common. Someone may call you pretending to be from your bank and tell you that there is a problem with your account. They may ask you for your account number and even your PIN code. Your bank will never ask you for your full card number or PIN code over the phone - so hang up the phone!
- Pensions and investment scams may offer you a seemingly amazing investment opportunity or tell you about legal loopholes to access your pension earlier.
- Compensation scams are very common and involve someone asking you about accidents you may have had or tell you that your bank mis-sold you PPI (payment protection insurance).
- Email scams are becoming more and more frequent and may involve a company posing as your bank or another service provider you know. They may ask you for your bank details or include a link to a virus. Never click on a link in an email you are unsure about!
- The computer scam is where someone calls you pretending to be from a well-known IT company. They will make you believe that you have a virus on your computer which needs to be fixed. They may get you to download malicious spyware aimed at stealing your personal details.
- Nuisance calls: some callers may offer you a genuine product but they may be overly pushy or use illegitimate techniques. Other callers may not be selling a product at all and try to deceive you to get money or personal information from you.
If you are unsure about a call or email, it’s always best to hang up the phone or delete the message.
How to report suspected bogus callers
- You can contact Citizens Advice Consumer Service for advice and information about bogus callers or doorstep sellers. They will refer doorstep sellers to the local Trading Standards team if appropriate. Phone: 0345 404 0506
- Report to the National Cyber Security Centre
- Report to via Gov.uk
- Action Fraud - Action Fraud is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime where you should report fraud if you have been scammed, defrauded or experienced cyber crime in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Age UK - latest details of scams, and offering support to older people.