How to spot a phone fraudster
Phone scams typically start with an unexpected phone call. Telephone fraudsters are often very convincing and persuasive. Their aim is to catch you 'off guard', win your trust, and take your money.
- offer bogus investment opportunities
- claim to be calling from an internet provider or Microsoft
- claim to be trusted officials, such as police officers or bank security staff
- demand you act quickly or keep their contact a secret
- attempt to obtain confidential information such as pin numbers
- ask you to transfer money or hand over your bank card or cash.
Always be scam aware and trust your initial instincts. If you weren’t expecting the call and think it may be a scam don’t feel pressured into making a quick decision over the telephone.
Before you take any action or disclose any information, obtain advice from the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on Freephone 0808 223 1133, or speak to a trusted friend or relative.
Reporting a scam
If you, or someone you know, has lost money to scammers you can report the incident direct to Trading Standards or via the Citizens Advice consumer helpline.
Apply to Trading Standards for a call blocker
West Sussex Trading Standards Service has a limited number of call blockers available to residents that may be vulnerable to phone scammers. They are available on loan for a minimum period of six months.
Residents need to satisfy certain criteria to qualify for the devices, which are proven to block up to 98 per cent of nuisance calls.
To qualify for a call blocker residents need to:
- live in West Sussex
- regularly receive scam and nuisance calls
- have care or support needs due to factors such as age, mobility or mental health.
Relatives, carers or friends can apply on behalf of West Sussex residents who meet the above criteria. We have to prioritise our installations to those we assess as being most vulnerable and at risk.
- Apply using our online application form
- Register your details with Citizens Advice on Freephone 0808 223 1133 - they will also be able to provide advice on scam and nuisance calls.
Purchasing a call blocker
Call blockers are also available to purchase. Trading Standards' approved ‘Buy With Confidence’ suppliers include trueCall and CPR. Look for devices carrying the 'Secured by Design' logo for added peace of mind.
Phones with call blocking facilities are also available to purchase from companies such as BT. Beware of buying devices or call blocking services offered by telephone cold callers; some have been known to offer poor quality devices or charge very high monthly fees.
Other preventative measures
Consider registering with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) online or call 0345 070 0707.
The TPS is a central 'opt-out' register that enables individuals to register their wish not to receive unsolicited sales and marketing telephone calls.
It is a legal requirement that companies do not make such calls to numbers registered with the TPS.