How to avoid falling prey to phone calls from scammers

What happens during a scam call?

Someone may call you claiming to be from your bank or mortgage company acting in your best interest. Their goal is to know your personal data, including your account number, PIN number, and 3 digital numbers on the back of your bank card. In short, they are after all the numbers that you will need to easily access your bank account and transfer your money to them.

What is the most common type of fraudulent call?

When the scammer calls, they will state that they have noticed an unusual payment from your bank account and that they would like to investigate on your behalf. They will claim that they need your bank details to ‘be able to catch the person or persons involved’. To encourage you to turn over your data, they will tell you a pretty credible story. It is at this point that vulnerable people are often accepted.

What are they likely to say to make them sound genuine?

Since most of us know that our banks would never contact us by phone asking for personal information, the scammer may invite you to call the phone number on the back of your bank card to confirm that the call is “genuine.” When you make the call to this number, the scammer keeps the line open and intercepts the call so that you are returned to the scammer or an accomplice, when they think you have been transferred to your real bank.

Who does this usually happen to?

Often times, thieves will target vulnerable people in our community – the elderly will often be the victims of this type of crime.

Are there different types of fraudulent crimes?

Yes, there are three that are the most reported by the victims. However, scammers try to come up with new ways all the time, so you need to be vigilant.

1. Scammers can send a courier to collect your bank card in person once you have given them your PIN number over the phone. To make the story seem even more credible, the driver may not know that he is part of a scam.

2. Some victims are asked to buy an expensive item on behalf of the scammer posing as the bank who wants to ‘catch the criminal and then hand over the item to see if they will accept it’. The courier (often unknowingly a part of the scam) comes to pick up the item to “pass it to the bank” when the scammer actually picks it up from the other end.

3. Victims are sometimes asked to transfer their entire account to a “secure account” due to alleged corruption at the bank. The money is transferred directly to the scammers’ bank account elsewhere.

If you know someone who may be elderly or vulnerable, remind them to be vigilant when answering the phone to people they don’t know who claim they belong to your bank or mortgage company.

Banks will NEVER ask for your personal information by email or phone, including your PIN number and bank details.

If you find unusual activity, call ActionFraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit

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