Dealing with phone scams and cold calling

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

Not only are phone scams a real problem, but many people also suffer from cold calls, such as unwanted sales calls, which can feel pushy and intrusive.

It can sometimes be difficult to work out when a call is a scam or simply a cold call. Callers can mask their identify using the latest technology and scams are becoming more sophisticated. 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 full 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. They may ask you for your bank details or 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.  
  • Nuisance calls: some callers may offer you a genuine product but they may be overly pushy or use illegitimate techniques. Other callers may not be selling a product at all and try to deceive you to get money or personal information from you.

If you are unsure about a call or email, it’s always best to hang up the phon or delete the message.

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 is an award winning service that can block up to 95% of nuisance calls. trueCall are offering a 10% discount for Richmond residents on their trueCall Call Blocker and trueCall Care products. Simply say that you are a Richmond resident when ordering to claim your discount.


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.

Further Information




For guidance for councillors, directors, managers and social work practitioners please read: 



Useful contacts:

Citizens Advice Consumer Service
Phone: 0345 404 0506