FRAUD experts have issued an urgent warning over a new scam which sees mobile phone users tricked into answering calls from fraudsters that match their own numbers.
The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has urged Brits to be on the lookout for the scam calls trying to steal personal information.
Reports of fraud calls and online scams have skyrocketed during the pandemic.
When you see the number pop up on your phone, the fraudsters will try to confuse you by making the first seven digits match your own phone number.
This tricks people into answering the call as they believe it's a legitimate phone number.
But it's a scam to dupe potential fraud victims into handing over their personal and financial information.
The scammers will impersonate government organisations or law enforcement agencies, and asks the person to "press 1" to speak to an advisor or police officer about unpaid fines or warrants.
Fraud victims have also reported receiving the calls, and messages, through widely-used messaging apps – such as WhatsApp.
In May this year, Action Fraud received 2,110 scam call reports where the caller’s number matched the first seven digits of the victim’s own phone number.
Of these, 1,426 – some 68 per cent – referred to HMRC or National Insurance.
In June, a warning was also issued about fraudsters trying to steal personal details by conducting fake phone calls claiming your National Insurance number will be suspended.
There are also reports of hundreds of other scams including one claiming to be HMRC trying to steal your tax credit details, and another centered around fake texts from Royal Mail.
ActionFraud continue to urge the public to remain vigilant to any automated calls that are still attempting to scam thousands of Brits.
Pauline Smith, Head of ActionFraud said: "It’s important to remember if you’re contacted out the blue by someone asking for your personal or financial details, this could be a scam."
Even when it comes to confirming personal details like your email address, date of birth or mother’s maiden name, criminals can use the information to commit fraud.
ActionFraud want to make it clear that if you have any doubts about what is being asked of you, you should hang up the phone.
It's very unlikely that a legitimate organisation will rush or pressure you to disclose these details.
If you believe that you have been scammed into providing personal details to someone over the phone you should contact your bank, building society and credit card company immediately.
You can also report it to ActionFraud using their website or by calling 0300 123 2040.
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