Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) has launched its annual national awareness week, with a focus on phone scams in partnership with Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK), as criminals increasingly focus on scams that avoid face-to-face contact.
The campaign will involve 173,000 volunteers will be helping to warn those in their community of the dangers of phone scams and give people advice on how to protect themselves. It comes as FFA UK publishes new figures on what is currently the most widespread phone scam – which involves victims being tricked into transferring money directly from their own bank account into the fraudsters.
While there are variations on this scam – the fraud typically works by the criminal calling their victim and pretending to be from their bank. The fraudster will then convince the victim that fraud has been detected on their bank account and that they have to act fast by moving their money into a so-called ‘safe account’ or risk losing all their money.
The fraud is often successful because criminals will use a range of techniques to dupe their victim – such as ‘spoofing’ the telephone number on the person’s caller ID display so that it matches their bank’s number, or making reference to genuine account information which they have fraudulently obtained elsewhere, in a bid to make the call seem genuine.
Here’s some valuable advice for you on how to take steps to avoid this type of scam:
Be wary of:
• Unsolicited approaches by phone.
• Cold callers who suggest you hang up the phone and call them back. Fraudsters can keep your phone line open by not putting down the receiver at their end.
Your bank or the police will never:
• Phone you to ask for your 4 digit card PIN or your online banking password, even by tapping them into the telephone keypad.
• Ask you to withdraw money to hand over to them for safe-keeping.
• Ask you to transfer money to a new account for fraud reasons, even if they say it is in your name.
• Send someone to your home to collect your cash, PIN, payment card or cheque book if you are a victim of fraud.
• Ask you to purchase goods using your card and then hand them over for safe- keeping.
Remember never disclose your:
• Four digit card PIN to anyone, including the bank or police.
• Your password or online banking codes.
• Personal details unless you are sure who you are talking to.
If you have fallen victim to fraud, or even if you’re unsure, contact your bank immediately and tell them what has happened. You should also report the crime to the police through Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040.