Our money advisor, Lucy, is available to our customers for advice about benefits, budgeting, accessing grants, and specialist advice organisations.
Dear Lucy, I am worried that my mum may have been scammed after she sent money when she received a text asking her to click on a link so her parcel could be re-delivered. They asked her for her bank details, and she gave them, I’m really worried about what to do.
I’m sorry to hear this, the first thing you and your mum need to do is contact her bank and let them know what has happened. They may suggest they cancel the card she used and put an alert on her account.
If your mum has been the victim of a payment scam, you can get a crime reference number by reporting it to your local Police station. Below is some information to help avoid scams and also unwanted sales calls from legitimate organisations which I hope will help.
Stop nuisance calls that you don’t want
The best way to reduce nuisance calls is to register your mum for free with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS). They’ll add her to their list of numbers that don’t want to receive sales and marketing calls. It’s against the law for salespeople from the UK or overseas to call numbers registered with TPS. You can register online or by phone instead: 0345 070 0707. However, registering with TPS won’t stop calls from scammers.
Stop, hang up and call 159
If you think someone is trying to trick you into handing over money or personal details - stop, hang up and call 159 to speak directly to your bank. Just because someone knows your basic details doesn't mean they're legitimate. These details could include your name, address, your mother's maiden name and even your direct debits.
- Say no: Ignore a caller that asks you for personal information, such as your PIN, or tells you that your computer has a virus. A genuine organisation will never ask you for these details over the phone, in an email or in writing.
- Check the line: Be aware that scammers can keep your phone line open even after you’ve hung up. Use a different phone, call someone you know first to check the line is free, or wait at least 10 to 15 minutes between calls to make sure that any scammers have hung up.
- Call the company: If you get a phone call from an organisation asking you for personal information, contact the company directly using a known email or phone number to check the call is legitimate.
- Avoid links: If you’ve received a text asking you to follow a link, don’t click on it. If you’d like to check if the text is genuine, contact the company directly either using their official website or phone number and enquire about your account that way.
- Never be rushed into handing over any money. Nothing is that important that you need to decide straight away.
- Never send money to someone you have never met or don’t trust.
- You shouldn’t have to pay anything to get a prize
Your bank or building society will never:
- attend your home to collect cash, your pin, payment card or cheque book if you are a victim of fraud
- phone you to ask for your PIN or your online banking password; or
- ask you to transfer money to a new account for fraud reasons
Basically if it sounds too good to be true it probably is, so if:
- you are contacted out of the blue – be suspicious;
- the call, letter, email or text has arrived unexpectedly;
- you’ve never heard of the lottery or competition they are talking about and didn’t buy a ticket; or
- they are telling you to keep it a secret.
Don’t suffer in silence – speak out about scams!
What are the signs that someone's been scammed?
You may be worried that someone you know is being scammed. Look out for these warning signs:
- Unusual amounts of post or letters in their home
- Evidence of large cash withdrawals or multiple cheque payments
- Lack of money to pay for other things
- Lots of phone calls from strangers or companies
- Being secretive about any of these behaviours
Some people don’t realise they're being scammed or refuse to believe it. They may feel that the scammers are their friends, or that their returns or prizes will come through if they continue to respond. This can make it very difficult to talk to them about getting help.
Have you got a question about your finances, money management or benefit entitlement? If so, ask Lucy here.