When your telephone rings, you may think that it is polite to answer whoever is trying to contact you. While some calls might be expected, or welcome, there are individuals out there who may try to gain access to personal information or financial details through these communications. It is not just the elderly who can fall prey to these scammers. In fact, it can be good practice for any individual to educate themselves on the signs that a call may not be as legitimate as you first believe.
One of the initial ways you may be able to identify a scam call can be through the number that is calling you. Unlike on older handsets, mobile phones and landlines alike can now offer a caller ID function, which will show you the number of the caller directly on the screen. Phone numbers starting with 020, for example, when you do not know anyone with that specific number (or are not expecting a call from there) may potentially be a sign that you are about to speak to a scam caller. However, it’s always worth checking if you are unsure.
There is a chance that the call could come from a company that you have associations with, however, you might want to keep your wits about you and take note of any numbers that look unfamiliar. Likewise, a withheld or unknown number could also signify that a scammer is calling, although this may not always be the case.
When you receive a call from a company you know and trust, there may be certain details they ask of you to pass security clearance. This could include your name, address, date of birth, or even a special question and response that is limited to telephone communications. However, within this, you should never be asked to give out financial information, such as your bank account number, sort code, card PIN, or credit and debit card details. When a caller asks for financial information this can be a clear sign that they may be trying to access your money, or even attempting to steal your identity. If this occurs, it can be a good idea to end the call and contact the company they were pretending to be from, to inform them of this issue, so that they can potentially look into it and alert other customers who may also be targeted.
A scam caller may also try to convince you to download something to aid with their support. At times, you may be told that there is a problem with your system or service, and that remote access is required to rectify the fault. This could see you downloading an app or program to your smartphone, tablet, or computer. From here, scammers may be able to access your bank information and other files. As a general rule, you should never install anything if told to by someone on the telephone, due to the compromise to your security.
Contact from a scam caller can leave people concerned about their safety. Reporting calls can help services to investigate them. Educating yourself about the types of scams that circulate, and how best to protect yourself, could help you to avoid becoming a victim of these operations.