Telephone scams warning

Published Friday, 13th March 2015
A woman with a credit card
Older person on telephone

Rotherham residents, particularly the elderly, are being warned about the increase in 'cold callers' running telephone scams.

Telephone calls that are unsolicited - cold calls - are used by both genuine companies and fraudsters to reach new customers.

But Council Trading Standards officers are warning that people should be on their guard because there has been an increase locally in the numbers of 'scam' calls recently.

A polite "No" and ending the call is expected by genuine companies when tele-marketing. So the public should not be afraid to end a call in this way if they have any suspicions.

Remember, it is your phone, and genuine telephone marketing companies and organisations expect a large proportion of calls to be ended this way.

Individuals should be very wary of all calls from persons and companies that they have not had any previous dealings with.

Anyone can receive a cold call but worryingly latest official research figures reveal nationally the majority - approximately 80 per cent of people - are over 65. 

There has been an increase in these types of calls and many are scams. These scam calls take many forms. Those who pick up the phone may be told that the caller is from their bank or a well-known company, for instance the supplier of your internet or telephone service.

Genuine callers of this kind will never ask for bank account details and as a rule no-one should give these details over the telephone. Banks and companies who a customer trades with on a regular basis will already have those details.

These scam callers may say that a resident has won a prize in a lottery or prize draw; that they are eligible for a refund of some sort etc. and they need details of their bank. 

But remember - if you have not entered the draw, raffle, lottery etc, how could you have won it?

If you receive a suspicious call in which the caller gives a number to ring to verify they are genuine then you should not hang up but if possible, use a second phone, such as a mobile, to ring the number.

It may be they are telephoning the same person/place or are speaking to the fraudsters partner in crime. So do not accept that a number given to you over the phone is genuine. Instead, always use the contact details provided by the bank, company etc. that you normally deal with.

Check the caller out and apply the common sense rules:

  • If what the caller is telling you seems too good to be true - then it usually is
  • Do not provide personal banking details to cold callers over the telephone

To report unsolicited calls you believe to be a scam, or if you feel you are the victim of one of these calls, contact the Citizens Advice Helpline on 03454 04 05 06. They will pass the information on to the relevant authority, the Police or Trading Standards. 

If the caller has said that someone will call at your address in person at some future time, and you feel afraid or threatened by this, telephone the Police on 101 or 0114 2202020.

To stop unwanted telephone calls contact the Telephone Preference Service by ringing 08454 070 0707 or register online. This free service will stop almost all unwanted calls.

Once registered, and after 28 days of registering you receive an unwanted call, you can complain to the TPS who will investigate the complaint.

Unwanted junk mail that often consists of scams can be reduced in a similar way by contacting the Mailing Preference Service on 08454 7034599 or online. This scheme works in the same way as TPS.

Register at the Telephone Preference Service website

Register on the Mailing Preference Service websiteimage