Brits conned out of nearly £24m in phone scams in one year

Folks keep handing out financial data to cold callers

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Brits have lost three times as much money in phone scams in the last year than they did the year before, according to Financial Fraud Action UK.

The organisation, which works with consumers, retailers and the police as well as the financial services industry, said that 58 per cent of people said they’d received suspect calls, up from 41 per cent from a similar survey last year.

At the same time, losses attributed to phone scams have shot up to £23.9m from £7m, prompting UK banks, building societies and card companies to launch a campaign with the police to help educate folks.

DCI Perry Stokes, head of specialist policing unit the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit (DCPCU), warned people that they always needed to be on their guard when asked for financial details on the phone.

“The bank or the police will never tell you to take such actions, so if you’re asked it can only be a criminal attack. Wait five minutes and call your bank, preferably from a different telephone, if you have even the slightest doubt,” he said.

The DCPCU and other police units, along with financial firms, will be kicking off a national advertising campaign to stop phone scams. Often, the scammers actually pretend that their victim has already been defrauded and use that to request personal and financial data from them.

There’s also the old favourites of persuading people to transfer money to other accounts, hand their bank card to a courier or withdraw money posing as the victim’s bank.

Nearly half of respondents were unaware of the trick of encouraging the victim to check with their bank and then keeping the line open so that the victim thinks they’ve made a new call and that they are now connected to the bank. ®

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