Dealing with fraud prevention is increasingly getting prioritised. Within government and policing there’s a growing awareness that ‘there’s an ill wind blowing that blows no good. While recognising and beginning to systematise the absorption of the knowledge regarding damage caused by fraud, there’s also the realisation that public awareness will bring down the success rate of unmitigated scammers. The rascals may be ‘bad to the bone’. But prevention could be key to staying safe, and all you have to do is get into a habit of hygiene. Being taken in by random fraudsters is surely an embarrassment of such magnitude that you wouldn’t wish it on your enemy. The recent brouhaha over a series of national insurance scam calls that impacted at least 34000 folk is a cue to us that, at the very least awareness, uncluttered and unfettered, is the guiding light we must follow.
National Insurance scam call: Gory Details
Only a couple of months back, a goodly number of folk had reported the said scam to Trading Standards. The latter is just one of the main agencies in the country actively fighting the relentless onslaught of scammers on the body politic. We will be enumerating the main actors somewhere else in the text. We are just quickly rubbing our hands, congratulating ourselves that folk have the insight to quickly report untoward mishaps to the right agency/authority. That’s just the awry it ought to be.
National insurance fraud is just one of the many scams plaguing us honest citizens. The pandemic has brought out the worst in some, and current scams warnings, unfortunately, must become a staple of our daily ‘food for thought’.
With apologies to the evil genius that composed the automated message, we give the admonition in our own words. The automated message stated that it – sans preludes – was in regard to your National insurance number. Ignoring it may well lead you right into legal trouble.’ The scam call then threatens that the insurance number will be ‘terminated’ because some unethical financial transactions had been effectuated.
Having had the listener by the ear, the voice then instructed you to ‘press 1’. Those who did fell in for this latest avatar of data harvesting or phishing. Naturally, the motive of the scam call was identity theft.
Action Fraud – the National Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Centre – received over 34000 calls regarding national insurance scam calls. That’s way too many by any set of parameters.
Those who pressed 1 to connect to the caller did not have their national insurance number verified. Rather, they had their vital financial data phished.
Action Fraud rightly says that no legit organisation will press for personal /sensitive details. The clear course is to hang up.
The first reflex action ought to be tempered by prudence. There’s really no call for alarm since you do not give effect to ‘unethical financial transactions’. And the whole modus operandi of the criminal’s shrieks ‘amateur’. Pity that too many folks do get taken in. let’s resolve not to be of their number!
So, the reflex action, once you’ve absorbed the honeyed instructions from the other end, ought to be: halt; challenge; project.
Take a moment to think about how improper the instructions are. Why must you deliver your details in this manner? Rein yourself in immediately.
You are well within your rights to resist. You have the right to keep your info to yourself. And no legit organisation forces folk to surrender their info so peremptorily. Or perfunctorily.
If you, in the madness of the moment, did unclasp your grip on your info and lent it all to unworthy ears, despair not. Immediately notify your bank, your credit card company, or building society so that preemptive measures can be put in place. Then, remember to report the national insurance scam call, by calling 0300 123 2040.
Help at hand!
Here we think it would be apt to remind you that the country has a large number of organisations committed to making the UK too hot for scammers.
- Age UK;
- British Banking Associastion;
- Business Debtline;
- Childnet internatiioonal;
- Citizens Advice;
- Claims maagemernt regulator;
- Counselling directory;
- Equifax; Experian;
- Financial Conduct Authority;
- Get Safe Online;
- The Online Dating Association;
- Out of Your Hands;
- Think Jessica;
- UK – Safer Internet Centre;
- UK Payments;
- UK Finance;
- Victim Support;
- Which? Consumer Rights.
As if that weren’t all – there’s Law Enforcement and Professional anti-fraud Specialists.
- National Counter Fraud Authority;
- Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit;
- Department for Work and Pensions;
- HM Revenue and Customs;
- Insurance Fraud Bureau;
- Insurance Fraud Investigators Group;
- National Crime Agency;
- National Police Chiefs’ Council;
- Serious Fraud Office;
For starters, it would make eminent sense to join CIFAS. The UK’s Fraud prevention service, CIFAS manages the largest database of fraudulent cases in the nation. CIFAS is lucky to have a real cross-sector level of cooperation, so that all members may have a good working idea of the general attributes of any new scams infecting the body politic. Even as sophisticated, smooth operators come up nearly daily with new-fangled notions of scamming, CIFAS remains committed to reaching out to as many of us as possible.
Highly recommended: preventive registration with CIFAS
We cannot stress this enough! A guarantee against impersonation by third-party actors, preventive registration would register your details onto the CIFAS database, thus letting CIFAS members know that you feel your identity might be at risk. If any member receives an application bearing your name, it will be checked against CIFAS documentation. Thus, fraudulent applications are best intercepted through CIFAS.
Citizens Advice: Knights in Shining Armour
Citizens Advice is a network of independent charities giving confidential advice online, in person, or over the phone – cost-free. Not only are they great with consumer protection and pension advice, but they also help witnesses as well – in the courts! With over 8000 staff, offices at 2500+ locations, and countless volunteers, Citizens Advice promises to guide you if, for instance, you receive dubious phone calls that might well be a scam. Feel free to reach out to them at https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/contact-us/contact-us/contact-us/.
Reporting a nuisance call
The national insurance scam call is only one recent example of the kind of threat we might have to face again. It’s never ‘too much information as far as anti-scam preparedness goes. A near cousin of insurance scam calls would be the classic nuisance call, and the measures you take against them might be good training in the right direction yet.
Look up the ‘Telephone Preference Service. They really are marvellous! You ought to register with them to stop nuisance calls reaching you. In case, however, a caller’s still making a nuisance of himself, ringing you up 28 days after you registered, feel free to get in touch with the TPS.
The Information Commissioner’s Office
Nuisance calls and kindred spirits may be reported to the ICO, as well. You ought to remember at least the name of the caller, if you cannot, for any reason, submit the number that was used in calling you.
The ICO can take action against whoever’s been making the nuisance call.
Scam calls are always on our radar, hunters as they are, preying on gentle honest citizens’ flesh time and again. But, given the vast magnitude of resources and organisations throughout the length and breadth of the country, you have no cause for anxiety. You are not alone.