What are fraudulent telephone calls?
Fraudulent calls, sometimes known as phone scams or cold calls, are used by people who want to trick you into giving out personal or financial information over the telephone. These telephone calls can be hard to tell apart from regular telephone calls from trustworthy providers.
Phone scammers are likely to target older, more vulnerable individuals for their information. In order to stay safe and keep your information secure and private, there are some different steps older people can take to recognise and avoid phone scams.
Why are older people at risk of fraudulent calls?
A report from Age UK suggests that five million older people above 65 believe that they’ve been targeted by phone scammers. Fraudulent callers will often target single, older people who live alone and are over the age of 75 because these circumstances can make them vulnerable.
How do you spot a fraudulent telephone call?
Many different businesses may call you if you’ve already used their services before, for example, your bank or your phone provider, however, these types of businesses often state that they’ll never ask you for your personal details over the phone.
It can be difficult to spot a fraudulent call, but there are common things which the caller may ask you which you can use to identify whether it could be a scam. Fraudulent callers are likely to ask you to share personal details, or they may offer you a financial deal which seems too good to be true.
Another way to spot these types of callers is that they may try to rush you into giving them details, or ask you to keep quiet about the deal they’re offering you. If a caller asks you for any of this information on a call and you’re unsure what to do, it’s worth ending the call and speaking to a friend, family member or your bank for advice.
How can fraudulent telephone calls be avoided?
There are many ways to protect yourself from fraudulent calls and to recognise them so that you don’t end up giving out personal and financial information.
If you feel like the call you’ve received may not be genuine, it’s okay to ask questions and to not let the caller rush you into giving all your details. The more informed you can get on who you’re speaking to, the better.
If after asking questions you’re still in doubt or unsure of who you’re talking to, don’t be afraid to hang up the phone. You can even contact the company they’re claiming to be directly yourself to double check whether the call was fraudulent and if there’s a safer way to provide your details if it wasn’t.
Most importantly, the best way to avoid being a victim of phone fraud is to ensure that you never give out your personal information such as bank details or other financial information out to callers over the phone. Your bank and other similar will never request these details over the phone and so to avoid scams, it’s best to never give them out.
Can you screen for fraudulent telephone calls?
As well as knowing how to spot fraudulent telephone calls yourself, there are also different services which older people can use to stop scammers from being able to call your number. Lots of telephone providers offer call blocking services which you can use to stop unwanted or unrecognised numbers from calling you. Any time a number calls you which you don’t want to be able to contact you again, you can add them to the list of blocked callers.
Some providers also offer a screening service which means that the caller needs to provide their name and details before you answer the call. This means you can be sure that you know who’s calling before you speak to them. For older people, this sort of service can help to provide a sense of safety and some piece of mind before picking up the phone.
This service is also often provided for older people by local councils and is worth looking into to ensure your safety and security.
If you want to avoid receiving sales and marketing calls from unknown numbers, you can also register your number with the Telephone Preference Service to stop cold callers from contacting you.
What can you do if you’ve given your information to a fraudulent caller?
If you think you may have given information to a fraudulent caller, you’re not alone. In fact, Financial Fraud Action UK say that 58% of people have been affected by scam callers in the last year.
If you’ve given your bank details to a fraudulent caller, you should contact your bank immediately to let them know. Your bank will be able to help you to make sure that your finances are safe and that any money lost is returned to you.
You can also report fraudulent calls Action Fraud, run by the City of London Police.
To speak to Ashridge Home Care about how we can help older people in their own homes, please contact us on 01494 917344 .