Monday 6 September 2021

Tips for avoiding telephone or internet scammers

 *** Avoid the scammers ***

Many people have been victims of phone and email scams. We thought we'd put together some safety tips that will help you identify scammers and avoid being caught out.

If your phone rings and it is from a number you are not expecting, take these basic steps to avoid being scammed.
  1. Do not give your name. Ask the caller who they wish to speak to. If it is genuine, they will know. If they say "To who am I speaking?" Hang up unless they can identify you by name. There is no reason why a genuine caller wouldn't know your name or refuse to give it if they wish to speak to you.
  2. If they claim to be from the HMRC or Tax authorities and know your name, ask them to confirm your NI number. If they are genuine, they will know this. They called you, so they have no reason not to tell you. You have every right to know that they are genuine.
  3. If they claim to be from a bank, ask them for the sort code of your branch. If they are from a bank, they will know this.
  4. If they claim to be from a credit card company, ask for the last four digits of the card.
  5. If they say they need you to identify yourself, say that they will have to send you an email to the account they have registered (don't tell them the email), detailing the nature of the query and once you have validated this, you will call them back.
  6. If they say that you owe money and you will go to prison etc if you don't pay, tell them to email your email account or send a letter to your house. Don't reveal these. A genuine debt collector will have this information. Anyone who is likely to be prosecuting you will have your details. If they can't do this they are phishing.
  7. Never pay by credit card to a cold caller over the phone. They will have your details. I would recommend payment electronically to a certified web portal. Any genuine debt collection agency will have one. It will be prefixed HTTPS. Screen shot the site and use a credit card, then you ar covered for fraud.
  8. If you get an email from a company claiming money, visit the website for the company who are claiming the debt and contact their customer services dept using the details on their official website. Some scammers have insiders in customer services, who sell details to scammers, so these can appear real, but if you go through their genuine customer services dept, you will not be talking to scammers. If the request is from a debt collection agency, speak to the company that the debt is allegedly with before paying.

Bear in mind that all of these steps are only guidelines. We recommend that if you get any cold call, google the number calling. Always try and see if there are active scams. Report numbers that are clearly scams. This helps protect everyone.

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