Who is really calling you?

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“Don’t talk to strangers” isn’t advice just for kids. We all need to be on guard when answering phone calls.

Unfortunately these days we must assume every caller is a scammer. If you don’t personally know the caller you can’t be sure of their identity, and you need protect yourself from professionally trained scammers and criminals.

Scammers target hundreds of people at a time. Once they find someone expecting a call from their service provider, they can gain trust much more easily.

Every time you answer the phone, think how you can verify the caller is who they claim to be. Don’t provide any personal information, such as your date of birth or your address until you are sure ? even if the caller knows your name.

What you can do to protect yourself?

When you make a call to a provider always write down the representative's name, and get them to provide you a case, interaction or reference number.

When you receive a call, whether or not you are expecting the call, ask the caller to provide the case (or interaction/reference) number and check that it matches what you previously wrote down. If they cannot or will not provide a number, or provide a number that doesn’t match, hang up. Don't accept excuses or explanations – just hang up.
Find your service provider's number from an old invoice or receipt or from the telephone directory, and call them directly.

Don’t have a case number? Tell the caller you “can’t talk right now”, ask for a case (interaction/reference) number and hang up. Legitimate companies are aware you are protecting yourself and will thank you for being cautious.
If the caller pressures you to do anything, even just to stay talking to them, hang up straight away.
Immediately find your service provider's phone number, phone them and quote the case (interaction/reference) number you have just been given and ask if it's legitimate. If the original call was legitimate, your service provider will be able to continue the conversation from their notes, and you can be confident you are talking to the right person.

The text "Who is really calling you?" by Custom Bits is licensed under CC BY 4.0.

Trevor Ian Peacock
Custom Bits
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