Fraud experts have issued a warning to mobile phone users over a new scam that is catching people out.
The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau is urging people to be on the lookout for calls that appear to be coming from numbers similar to their own.
When you see the number pop up on your call display, it may be confusing at first because the first seven digits will probably match your own phone number, the Daily Record reports.
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This tricks people into answering as they believe it’s a legitimate phone number.
Unfortunately it is a dangerous scam to dupe potential fraud victims into revealing their personal and financial information.
Action Fraud said: “Commonly, the first seven digits (07nnnnn) match the victim’s own number.
“The calls impersonate well-known government organisations, or law enforcement agencies, and will ask the recipient of the call to “press 1” in order to speak with an advisor, or police officer, about unpaid fines or police warrants.”
In May 2021, Action Fraud received 2,110 scam call reports where the caller’s number matched the first seven digits of the victim’s own phone number and of these, 1,426 – some 68% – referred to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) or National Insurance.
Victims have also reported receiving these types of calls, and messages, through widely-used messaging apps, such as WhatsApp.
How to protect yourself from this new type of scam
Essential things to remember:
- Scottish and UK Government and law enforcement agencies will never notify you about unpaid fines or outstanding police warrants by calling or texting you.
- Do not respond to any calls or texts you receive about these.
- Always take a moment to stop and think before parting with money or your personal information, it could prevent you from falling victim to fraud.
- Remember, it’s okay to reject, refuse or ignore any requests.
- Only criminals will try to rush or panic you into giving out your personal or financial details.
If you receive a suspicious text message, you can report it by forwarding the message to 7726 – this is completely free of charge.
You can also report scams to Action Fraud via their website here.
Scam emails can be reported to the National Cyber Security Centre via their new Suspicious Email Reporting Service here.
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