Phone scams

16-06-2017

Some fraudsters are cunning in their phone-scam tactics, so it is not always easy or obvious to tell straight away whether it’s a scam. There are many different types of phone scam techniques that these con artists use, in this article, we will outline some of these techniques and some tips to stay protected.

Investment scams

These phone scamming techniques involve a caller claiming to make you money off a ‘great opportunity’ and promise that there is a minimal risk of losing money with the investment. This is a lie. Every year in the UK, an estimated £1.2bn is lost to investment fraud. However, only 10% of all investment fraud related crimes are reported, meaning the number of people actually affected is much higher. The Financial Conduct Authority has found that over 65’s who have some savings are more likely to be victims of fraud.

Investment scammers may do one or more of the following:

-          Contact you unexpectedly about an investment opportunity via cold calls, emails or follow up calls after sending out a promotional brochure

-          Pressure you to invest in a time-limited offer, e.g. offer a bonus or discount if you invest before a set date

-          Downplay the risks of an investment, e.g. they could talk about how you will own the actual assets they may sell if the investment doesn’t work as expected or use legal jargon to mislead you

-          Promise you tempting returns that sound too good to be true, e.g. offer much better interest rates than those offered elsewhere

-          Call you repeatedly and keep you on the phone a long time

-          Claim they’re only making this offer available to you, or even ask you not to tell anyone else about the opportunity.

Pension scams

These scams generally come in two forms: pension liberation schemes or high-risk investments. However, often these scams contain elements of both. Pension liberation schemes involve people releasing their pensions before age 55 and converting it wholly or partially to cash. This is done by transferring your pension pot to a scheme which allows early access to your savings and then giving you cash back, sometimes in the form of a loan against your pension.

There are some cases in which pension funds can be released early, such as terminal illness, however, having an early release of your pension is likely to result in a very high tax bill and significantly reduce your retirement income. In a pension scam, one your funds have been transferred, some or all of the money will be released as a cash payment or ‘loan’. Tax advantages are given on the condition that you don’t access your pension too early.

Taking money out of your pension before age 55 could result in what is called an ‘unauthorised payment’ because it goes against the reasons for providing tax relief in the first place.

Computer scams

Computer scams tend to involve a call to inform you of a virus on your computer, sometimes purporting to be from Microsoft or other widely known companies. This is to trick you into believing the call to be true, however, it is not. They will ask you to download software onto your computer to provide them access to remove said virus, however, they are just trying to access personal data stored on your device.

These scams actually started in back in 2009, but are still going today. No legitimate IT security company – certainly not Microsoft – will ever call you in this way. This is because they have no way of telling if your computer is infected by a virus or malware.

Bank scams

These scams involve the caller claiming to be from your bank or building society. After the initial conversation about a possible ‘fraud check’ or problem with your account, the caller will tell you to hand up and call your bank to check the legitimacy. However, this is a trick within itself, as the caller on the other end does not hang up, so when you make another call they are still on the line. They will then pretend to be a bank representative and try to make you pass on your account details, transfer money to another bank account or ask them to hand over your cash or card to them via a courier. This tactic is known as ‘vishing’. However, no bank will ever ask for the PIN of your card or ask you to send any cash or the card to them via a courier.

The average number of people in Britain falling victims to scams such as these per year is around 5.6 million. Protecting your personal information, bank details and pension is vital and you should never outright believe the caller. We would always suggest that you take the matter up directly with your bank or take your computer into a store directly to have it checked over. Never allow any callers access to any of your information, as it is likely it will be a scam.

Protecting yourself

Protecting yourself from falling victim to such scams is just as vital as protecting your home, business and family. At Associated Security we take the security of all our customers and clients extremely seriously. Follow these tips outlined in the post to avoid falling victim to phone scams. Protecting your home is just as important, installing a home safe is the most effective way to protect valuables and important documents from theft, loss or damage.

To find out more about the range of products & services that we offer go to www.associated-security.co.uk or call us on 0161 832 2777.


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