Robocalls and phone scams have been a hot topic in the U.S., but just because they’re getting a lot of attention, doesn’t mean our friends across the water have been an exception to unwanted calls.
A scam is a scam and whether it be in the U.S. or the U.K., scammers are always seeking out their next victim.
Some of these may sound familiar, and others may be new to you, but here are some of the top nuisance calls that are affecting the U.K. and how you can avoid being the next victim on the international scammer’s list!
1) Payment Protection Insurance (PPI)
We’ve all seen the commercials or have gotten that call or text claiming, “If you’ve bought (fill in product) or been injured (fill in the type of injury) you can be compensated for (fill in claim).”
But hold it right there.Before you start racking your brain about a possible product or injury that you hope can bring in money, realize that this could be a scam! While some companies are genuine and are looking out for your best interest, most of the time, these fast talking sales people should make you wary. Those who are attempting to sell you PPI (payment protection insurance), which is usually provided with loans, credit cards, store cards, mortgages, car loans, overdrafts, or any type of credit, are quickly talking to reel you in before you realize what you’ve gotten yourself into.
It may sound appealing but don’t fall for it! Your best bet is to avoid engaging with these callers, hang up, and contact your insurance company. If you have any accidents, or product purchase concerns, your insurance company can professionally and safely inform you on how to put a claim on your policy.
2) HMRC Scams
We’ve seen the flood of U.K. tweets on Twitter from consumers who are constantly getting SMiShing messages (where scammers trick consumers through a text that includes a link that will download a virus or other malware onto their phones) or phone calls requesting they verify information, claim tax rebates, or pay unpaid taxes, just like this:
The “so-called HMRC associate” may ask you to:
- Click on a link
- Send your account, card, and/or pin number
- Transfer money to a ‘safe account’ while they try and resolve a problem
- Call them back on a number they provide
Do not fulfill any of these requests! If you feel you are having issues with your taxes or bank account, check your tax paperwork, call your bank, and find an official number for the HMRC to verify that you are contacting a legitimate number.
You get a call, but you don’t recognize the number; however it’s a local number so you think, “It must be someone I know, right?”
Just like how U.S. consumers are being spoofed from across the world, the same is happening to those in the U.K. Scammers are tricking just about everyone by spoofing and making consumers believe a legitimate company or organization is locally contacting them.
If there is any doubt about who could be calling, hang up, and verify the company or organization by calling them directly.
4) IT Scammers
In this day and age, it’s rare to find someone who doesn’t work on or own a desktop or laptop computer, and unfortunately, with the mass amounts of users, scammers are using them as easy targets for the IT scam.
Posing as help desk associates from the likes of well-known companies like Microsoft, scammers are contacting consumers to let them know that their computer has a “virus.” But “fortunately” they’ve caught it in time, and for a nominal-fee, they can resolve all of your virus issues if you upload their “anti-virus software”.
First rule of thumb, never download anything unless you actually know what it is! For those who fall victim to this scam, the so-called “anti-virus software” turns out to be spyware, which scammers can then use to find all of your personal details in your computer.
If you receive a call claiming you have a virus, know that IT companies like Microsoft do not have the time to call each and every individual who may have a virus. So when you do get this call HANG UP!
5) Anti-Scam Scam
Don’t be fooled by an unexpected caller who empathizes with scam victims and claims that they’ve got a solution to fight unwanted calls. These unwanted callers are hoping to sell you anti-scam technology, or ask you to renew your TPS (Telephone Preference Service), the U.K.’s version of the U.S.’s Do Not Call list, which is actually free.
Just like every other scam, when a caller is selling you something and requests personal information or payment over the phone, do not give it to them! To verify if an organization or company is legitimate, check them out here.