Telephone scams

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We know that half of all scams start with a phone call and vulnerable residents in Kent receive over 55 nuisance calls per month and over half of them are from criminals. These fraudsters often use the names of well-known companies to commit their crime, as it provides a mask of legitimacy.

Telephone scams are the second most common type of scam in the UK, but many more go unreported.

Our intelligence shows that people in Kent are being targeted by so-called computer companies who tell you that there is a fault or a virus on your computer. They offer to fix the problem over the phone for a small fee. Of course, there isn't a fault or virus and you have given away your bank details to a stranger. One consumer agreed to pay £19 for the 'trader' to fix the problem, but they took £319.

Computer firms do not make unsolicited phone calls to help you fix your computer.

Common types of telephone scams

  • Computer virus alert or computer fault
  • Telephone services (landline)
  • Microsoft support
  • PPI
  • Prize draws
  • Banking services
  • Advertising
  • Energy
  • Local Government
  • Compensation calls
  • HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
  • Automated voicemails.

How to avoid telephone scams

  • Don't give out your telephone number unnecessarily.
  • Tick that you don't want to be contacted with promotional material when signing contracts.
  • Register with the Telephone Preference Service (which is free) on 0345 070 0707 to reduce calls. Marketing calls are legal, but not if you tell the business you don't want to receive them or you are registered with the Telephone Preference Service.
  • Go ex-directory.
  • Check the call blocking facilities available from your telephone provider.
  • Consider buying a call blocker device, such as a trueCall blocker, which can block 98% of nuisance phone calls.

If you receive silent or abandoned calls, contact OFCOM on 0300 123 3333.

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