Spotting and Avoiding Phone Scams

Phone Scams are often targeted at older people (studies found that 80% of phone scam victims were over 55). Scammers use a range of techniques. 

Vishing (voice fishing)

The caller poses as someone from a reputable organisation, such as your bank, in order to get you to reveal personal details or hand over money. You may also get text messages to your mobile phone asking for these details. 

Protect yourself 

  • Don’t give out personal or financial details.
  • Hang up and contact the organisation yourself
  • Make sure you find the number yourself don’t use one you were given by the caller.
  • Don’t transfer money from your account to another account, even if the caller says it’s to protect your money or the new account is in your name. 
No hang-up phone scams

The scammers ring posing as someone from a reputable organisation, then tell you to call the organisation (e.g. your bank) to verify what they’re saying and give them your personal details. The scammer will pretend to hang up while you do this, but they’ll keep the line open – you’ll think you have got through to the organisation but you’ll still be talking to one of the scammers. They can use fake dialling tones so you don’t notice anything is wrong. 

Protect yourself 

  • Don’t assume a caller is genuine.
  • Use a different phone, wait 20 minutes, or ring a number you trust (e.g. your mobile) before ringing the organisation, to check the line is clear.
Missed call

Scammers may use automated systems to dial numbers briefly, leaving a missed call on your phone. Calls are often from numbers starting 070 or 076. They might look like mobile phone numbers but are actually premium rate numbers, if you call back, you’ll be charged a high rate for making the call. 

Scammers also send text messages to mobile phones that seem like they’re from an ordinary individual trying to contact their friend. If you call or text back to let them know they have the wrong number, you’ll be charged a high rate. 

Protect yourself 

  • Contact the Phone-paid Services Authority (0300 303 0020, if this happens to you.
  • If you weren’t expecting a call and don’t recognise the number, don’t call back.
  • Hang up on cold callers and ignore cold texts
  • Sign up with the Telephone Preference Service to opt out of receiving unwanted sales and marketing calls (0345 070 0707,
  • See if your home phone or mobile phone has an option to block unwanted calls or texts
  • ever give out bank details, such as your PIN or online banking login details, including by keying your PIN into the phone
  • assume a call is safe just because the number matches the number on your bank card or statement. Callers can modify the caller ID so that your phone displays a fake number
  • make a decision about an investment based on what someone has told you over the phone. Always seek independent financial advice ring a number the caller gives you to check the legitimacy of a call.
  • Use a source you trust to find the number – for example, the company’s website or the phone book.


If you need any further help or advice please don't hesitate to contact the Pension Team helpline 01306 872100