Dealing with phone scams and cold calling

Phone scams are on the rise and are a common way to con people out of their money.

Not only are phone scams a real problem, but many people also suffer from cold calls, such as unsolicited sales calls, which can feel pushy and intrusive too. It can sometimes be difficult to work out when a call is a scam or simply a cold call. 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 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 to ask you for your bank details for example. Or, they may 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.  

If you are unsure about a call, it’s always best to hang up the phone.

How can I avoid receiving unwanted mail and telephone calls?

  • Mail Preference Service: You can reduce the amount of unwanted mail you receive by signing up to the Mail Preference Service. This service is free of charge.
  • Telephone Preference Service: You can reduce the number of unwanted or marketing telephone calls received by signing up to the Telephone Preference Service. This service is free of charge.
  • Truecall offer electronic call blockers and other devices which will help you to manage and avoid nuisance telephone and marketing calls.
  • Charities like Think Jessica and Age UK offer useful information and advice, including booklets. 

What to do if you fall victim to a scam

Fraudsters are constantly finding new ways to trick people – anyone can be a victim of a scam and you shouldn’t feel embarrassed about reporting it. Your report could help ensure that other people don’t become victims of the same scam.

Useful contacts:

Action Fraud
Phone: 0300 123 2040

Citizens Advice Consumer Service
Phone: 0345 404 0506