According to the consumer advisory service, Citizens Advice, an estimated ¾ of Britons have been targeted by scammers, and 1 in 10 people know of someone who has lost money to a fraudster.  It’s, therefore, more important than ever to be vigilant and not to trust anyone.

One of the most common scams involves vishing, or cold-calling someone on the phone and convincing them they are being contacted by a government or bank official or other respected professional.  Number spoofing allows them to make it seem as if they are calling from the department or bank branch where they claim to be. This technique hides their true number and permits another number to appear on their victim’s caller ID display.

Along with their use of technology, they also use clever psychological tricks.  They almost always introduce a note of urgency and the risk of delay so that their victims don’t question what they’re being told.  

The key to fraudprevention is making sure that consumers are aware of the most common scams.  In this way, they can avoid becoming easy prey for the conmen.

What are the most common phone scams?

One popular phone scam is to call someone and claim to be from a bank or credit card company.  They will explain that the safety of a debit/credit card or bank account has been compromised, and they need the personal details of the account holder to rectify matters.  They might even offer to send a courier for the card and request the PIN.

Other conmen pretend to be from HMRC.  They will claim that the person is either owed a tax rebate or owes money for unpaid taxes.  They will then ask for personal data to arrange a bank deposit (and use the information to commit identity theft) or will ask for the ‘unpaid taxes’ to be deposited into an account.

Another common scam is that they telephone on behalf of a well-known IT firm (such as Microsoft).  They will then explain how the person’s computer has been infected by a virus and ask for money for anti-virus software.  Often this software is non-existent, or it is actually spyware which is introduced into the computer to look for sensitive financial information or other personal details.  

How to avoid becoming a victim of phone scams

Firstly, you should never, under any circumstances, reveal personal details over the phone (even to the police).  If you feel hassled, you should hang up and ring them back on a number you’ve found independently of the caller (and waiting 5 minutes in case they stay on the line).  You shouldn’t feel pressurised into going along with what they say but should take the time to question what you’re being told.

If you become a victim of a scam, Cashfloat can be relied on to offer an instant loan to see you through this tough patch.  They are a reputable FCA authorised lender who can be trusted.

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