5 Common Phone Scams You Need to Know About

Published: 01/10/2019

Phone scams are on the increase, with elderly and vulnerable people being heavily targeted by fraudsters. Here are 5 common phone scams that you should be aware of.

Constant interruptions from cold callers can be frustrating at the best of times, but for older or vulnerable people they can be particularly worrying. Unfortunately, telephone scams are on the rise in the UK. According to Which? over 5 million older people say they’ve been targeted by fraudsters. So, how can you spot the signs that a call isn’t legitimate and reduce your risk of falling victim to common phone scams?

While there are companies who make calls to sell legitimate products, it can be hard to differentiate them from someone out to defraud you. However, if a caller contacts you out of the blue and asks for personal or financial details it’s always sensible to be suspicious.

5 common phone scams to look out for:

The tax scam – a caller pretending to be from the HMRC tells you there is an issue with your tax return or you’re due to get a nice tax rebate. All you have to do is give them your personal and banking details to sort the matter out! In fact, the HMRC would never contact you by telephone for this sort of issue or ask for your details.

The bank scam – a similar scenario to that of the HMRC scam, a ‘representative from your bank’ calls to tell you there’s a problem with your card. A common tactic is to play on your fears and say that you’ll lose money from your account if you don’t give them your bank details. Again, your bank would never ask for this information and they would certainly never ask for your PIN number.

The computer scam – someone tells you that your computer has a virus and your details and data will be stolen unless they urgently put an anti-virus programme on there. All you have to do is give them your passwords so they can get remote access to your computer. They often claim to be from Microsoft to make themselves sound more official but it’s all a ruse to get access to your computer where they can add malware and steal information. Legitimate technology companies would never contact you this way.

The amazing opportunity scam – also known as the ‘too good to be true’ scam. That incredible investment opportunity, a new way to cash in your pension early or the big prize that you’ve won are just another scheme to get you to part with your money. There’s always a catch, like paying a processing fee to claim your prize, that will leave you out of pocket and put your personal information in the hands of fraudsters.

The premium rate scam – you receive a call telling you to contact an organisation that can help you with debt or insolvency, for example, or you get a mysterious missed call on your mobile. If you’re not expecting a call from a legitimate company about debt or any other issue, and you don’t have any idea who the missed call could be from, do not return the call. If you do, you could be connected to a premium rate phone line, often overseas, that will cost you lots of money.

How to avoid phone scams

  1. If you have any doubts that a caller is legitimate, or the person is being threatening or abusive – hang up right away.

  2. Don’t be rushed or coerced into making decisions on the spot. End the call, think about it and verify the caller’s identity yourself by finding the number for the company from a legitimate, independent source.

  3. Never give out personal details, passwords or financial information.

  4. Register with the Telephone Preference Service or use your phone provider’s nuisance blockers, where possible.

  5. If you think you’ve been targeted by a scam, report it to Action Fraud as soon as possible.

To find out more about how to avoid scams, the Citizens Advice, Money Advice Service and Action Fraud websites have lots of helpful advice.

Bluebird Care - Serving the Sevenoaks Community

As a homecare company, we know that older and vulnerable people are heavily targeted by scammers. That’s why we’re doing our best to keep our community informed and protect our customers from phone fraud.
If you’d like to know more about how Bluebird Care’s homecare services in Sevenoaks can help you live safely at home, get in touch with our team today.