Criminals can clone your identity and wreck havoc on your bank account and credit rating with very little personal information. Guarding personal details and treating business deals or requests for donations with suspicion is essential when it comes to answering unsolicited calls if you want to avoid becoming a victim of telephone fraud.
Among the most common telephone fraud scams are charity scams where a caller says they represent a charity but on receiving a donation from their victim, they pocket the money. Check that any charity you wish to donate to is registered before you part with any money.
Callers who say you have won money or a competition should also be treated with suspicion. Magazine subscription scams are another way fraudsters can obtain your bank details over the phone. Make sure you only pay for publications that you will actually receive.
If you are in debt, don’t be tempted by credit card or loan deals offered via telephone. It is possible the caller has identified you as someone with a poor credit rating and has targeted you for this very reason.
Top tips against telephone fraud
If you receive a call from an unknown caller, do not give out any personal details such as your bank details or your email address. If you need to give out these details over the phone, make sure you verify the caller’s credentials first and that you initiate the contact.
If you are unsure of the authenticity of a caller, check which organisation they represent and then independently source a number for that organisation before calling to verify they are who they say they are.
Install a call blocker like those available at callblocker.co.uk to stop unwanted callers getting through to you.
Trust your instinct. If someone calls to offer you a business deal or a loan which seems too good to be true, it probably is. Often such offers require you to pay an upfront fee or to give a donation. If you are tempted by an attractive offer, ask for a proposal in writing. Never agree to anything on the spot.
If you are a victim of fraud, contact the police or your bank to report the activity you suspect to be fraudulent. Taking quick action is important, especially if you want to dispute a claim and have the money which was taken without your authorisation re-credited to your account.
Identity theft may entail a call to a credit-reporting bureau or an issuer of identification, such as the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency since the criminal who obtained your personal details may have then used them fraudulently to obtain a driving licence or another type of identification.
Keep abreast of common scams to avoid becoming a victim. This can be done via any website which is dedicated to informing people about the latest scams.