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Watch out for nasty telephone scams!

Marc Crosby 2nd Dec 2014 3 Comments

Reading Time: 4 minutes

There has been a steep increase in nasty telephone scams over the last year which means you need to be extra careful not to be conned.

Over the last 12 months, at least £23.9 million has been lost to Vishing (the fancy term for phone scams), which is a £7 million increase on the year before.


phone scamsThese scams typically involve fraudsters tricking people into thinking that they’re taking to a police officer, a member of bank staff or a member of another known organisation (such as a computer company.)



fraud alertThe scammers will try to convince you that you have been a victim of fraud and will ask you to give your card details, your pin number or passwords. Reading this you might think you’d never be fooled but you have to remember that being told you’re a victim of fraud is a flustering experience and you may let your guard down quicker than you’d think.

Other types of these scams may involve the fraudster trying to persuade you to transfer money or actually hand over your card to a courier who comes to your door (the audacity!)


fraudSometimes these fraudsters will get you to verify their identity by asking you to ring your bank’s number. However they’ll stay on the line and still be there even after you’ve dialled the correct number – these guys really will try anything to fleece you from your hard earned cash.

Financial Fraud Action UK believe that 58% of the population received a suspicious phone call over the summer so we all need to be on our guard against these vicious schemers.

Worryingly 25% of people surveyed said they would not ask to check the identity of the caller and an alarming 10% said they would hand over their card to a courier or make a cash transfer if they believed their bank had asked them too. That means a staggering 4.9 million bank customers would fall into this trap!

Remember, a bank would never ask you to do any of these things.


Customers are now being advised on what steps they can take to protect themselves from falling prey to one of these scams:

Be wary of:

  • Unexpected phone callers.
  • 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.

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.



  • It takes two people to end a call.
  • If you feel something is suspicious or feel vulnerable, hang up, wait five minutes to clear the line, or where possible use a different phone line, then call your bank or card issuer on their advertised number to report the fraud.
  • If you don’t have another telephone to use, call someone you know first to make sure the telephone line is free.
  • Your bank will also never ask you to check the number showing on your telephone display matches their registered telephone number. The display cannot be trusted, as the number showing can be altered by the caller.
  • Criminals may already have basic information about you in their possession (e.g. name, address, account details), so do not assume a caller is genuine because they have these details or because they claim to represent a legitimate organisation.

If you’re ever in doubt, don’t hand over your details. If you’re worried the call might be genuine and that you are a victim of fraud then go down to your bank in person and find out what to do – it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

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9 years ago

There is now a device available called TureCall that only allows through the telephone numbers you programme into it. Apparantley it was featured on the BBC’s Dragons Den television programme, but it may be expensive for some at about 100 pounds. You have to have caller dispaly activated with your phone provider i.e. it displays the number on your landline handset. Plus I;m not sure if it stops genuine calls from organisations that leave no telephone number.

Jasmine Birtles
9 years ago
Reply to  Neil

Wow that sounds like a good device…and very much needed!

9 years ago

Wake up to Money had a big feature on this today. I simply never give any information to anyone who has phoned me. The end.

If I think a call may be legit, I end it and then later that day or the day after I will call the person who they claim to be by finding an independent number on the internet (or I phone from my mobile if someone has rang my home phone, or vice versa).

Jasmine Birtles

Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.

Jasmine Birtles

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