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  1. ITV Report

How to avoid phone scammers

Victims of phone scammers are often tricked into handing over bank details. Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

A new scam that hijacks your phone line is fooling people into believing emergency services are on the line when in fact it's con-men. The fraudsters then get hold of the victim's credit card details. Marcus Powell has been speaking to one woman who lost thousands of pounds.

The Metropolitan Police is warning of a new spate of telephone scams where the victims are called up and convinced to hand over their bank cards. One victim actually called the police to check whether the call was genuine but did not realise she was still speaking to the fraudsters. They had stayed on the line so they were talking to her after she dialed the police number.

The Met has today released a booklet about avoiding scams. Here are some of the tips they suggest for dealing with phone callers:

Do not pay money until you have checked the credentials of the company that you are dealing with. This includes sending money abroad and using methods of payment that you are not comfortable with.

Do not give out your personal, credit card or online account details over the phone unless you made the call and the phone number came from a trusted source.

If you receive a phone call from someone you don’t know, always ask for the name of the person you are speaking to and who they represent. Verify this information by calling the company’s head office yourself.

Do not reply to unsolicited texts, e.g. texts referring to accident claims even to get them stopped. Simply delete them.

It is best not to respond to missed calls that come from numbers you do not recognise. Be especially wary of phone numbers you do not know. They may charge you higher rates if you answer them and can turn out to be very expensive.

If using a ‘smart’ phone install anti-virus software on it.

Sign up with the Telephone Preference Service to prevent marketing phone calls.

Be suspicious. If you are unsure about anything, seek independent/legal advice.

If you spot a scam or have been scammed, report it and get help. Contact ActionFraud on 0300 123 2040 or online at actionfraud.police.uk or the police in your area.