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Thread: Helping relatives avoid scammers

  1. #1
    Grand Master AlphaOmega's Avatar
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    Helping relatives avoid scammers

    Thought it was worth a separate thread.

    We can update this post using our pooled experience so it can be used as a reference.


    Nothing is likely to be so urgent that you need to take action today - you have time to speak to family and friends first.

    If someone contacts you unexpectedly
    from any bank, building society, broadband provider, building company, computer services company, investment company, insurance company or any form of business or sales outlet, they could be trying to scam you or sell you something you don't need - check with a family member or a friend first before doing anything.

    No essential service is likely to be switched off through a phone call alone.

    Don't panic if you're given bad news, contact your family or friends first.


    If you are on your own and need to do something, these notes may be helpful:

    If you've received a text or email about a delivery, check that it's genuine. In many cases you won't need to respond.

    If you receive a communication from a business that requires you to log on and do something, always phone the business first to check using their main contact number.

    If you can see the number of the person who's calling you, only answer numbers you recognise. Even if you do recognise the number, it could still be a scammer. Check with a relative or friend first.

    Make sure you hang up properly - put the phone down and wait until you have a fresh dialling tone. If you have one, use another phone.

    If you have to call a business back, do not use the phone number they send you. Use the main phone number that you know is correct and have checked.

    Avoid website links in emails and texts that ask for any personal information. Even if it's a password reset, always phone the main number first to check.

    Never give out personal details if someone is calling you. Always hang up and call back on the main number. It may take longer but it's safer.

    If you have to make a payment by yourself, confirm all bank account details again by phone (via a trusted number).


    Notes for members, not relatives
    Obviously, there will be bespoke URLs and CTAs which may also be fine but it'll just complicate matters if you start telling them about exemptions.

    If someone is likely to be scammed, just keep the message simple. If they do get scammed then it may be worth them changing their email and phone number to avoid being targeted again.

    If they are using online banking, consider showing them how to make a nominal transaction first as a test before they transfer the main amount.

    If they lose their bank cards regularly it may be worth taking to the bank about ways of increasing security - see below for additional suggestions.

    Try moving them to an iPad rather than a laptop as it may offer additional benefits (see below).

    Also see notes below for:

    - Business best practice
    - Android best practice if your relative has such a phone
    Last edited by AlphaOmega; 22nd August 2021 at 18:31.

  2. #2
    Journeyman
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    The following obviously relies on having caller display, but will scupper most scams because they normally will not leave messages.
    Do not answer phone calls from numbers you do not recognise.

    Mostly for older family members…and probably worth discussing parameters i.e. anything related to making payments, for example.
    Check with a family member first if you are asked to do anything.
    Last edited by AlexG; 18th August 2021 at 07:10.

  3. #3
    Grand Master AlphaOmega's Avatar
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    ^Thanks Alex, updated.

  4. #4
    Craftsman
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    Helping relatives avoid scammers

    More of a business one, but confirm all bank account details again by phone (via a trusted number).

    Had a supplier email changing bank details last week that other than tone was flawless. Iíve seen spoofing name with a dodgy email when you click on it:

    John Smith (scammer@scam.com)

    But this one was proper:

    John Smith (John.smith@company.com)

    Which is scary!

  5. #5
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    Scams have moved on, they can call you from anywhere in the world & the number you see on caller ID could be a your Bank or Building Societyís, or energy providers, beware!

  6. #6
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    We have a device in line with the phone, pre programmed with family & friends for my wifeís parents both have either dementia or Alzheimer's.
    Any unknown number gets diverted to us or pre programmed scam callers get rejected.

  7. #7
    Master unclealec's Avatar
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    In the case of vulnerable elderly relatives ( I have this issue with my wife) I have a simpler plan. Impress this upon them:

    If someone phones you unexpectedly from any form of firm or sales outlet, they are either trying to scam you or sell you something you don't need. Tell them to phone back when your husband/son/personal link to the local Mafia is at home and hang up.

  8. #8
    Grand Master AlphaOmega's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greenandblack View Post
    More of a business one, but confirm all bank account details again by phone (via a trusted number).

    Had a supplier email changing bank details last week that other than tone was flawless. Iíve seen spoofing name with a dodgy email when you click on it:

    John Smith (scammer@scam.com)

    But this one was proper:

    John Smith (John.smith@company.com)

    Which is scary!
    Good point. I'm aiming this at those who don't run businesses - hopefully the members can still use your important point though. Shout if you think it needs to go into the vulnerable message.

    Quote Originally Posted by g40steve View Post
    Scams have moved on, they can call you from anywhere in the world & the number you see on caller ID could be a your Bank or Building Societyís, or energy providers, beware!
    Updated.

    Quote Originally Posted by g40steve View Post
    We have a device in line with the phone, pre programmed with family & friends for my wifeís parents both have either dementia or Alzheimer's.
    Any unknown number gets diverted to us or pre programmed scam callers get rejected.
    Great, hopefully the members can do this without needing to tell the vulnerable.

    Quote Originally Posted by unclealec View Post
    In the case of vulnerable elderly relatives ( I have this issue with my wife) I have a simpler plan. Impress this upon them:

    If someone phones you unexpectedly from any form of firm or sales outlet, they are either trying to scam you or sell you something you don't need. Tell them to phone back when your husband/son/personal link to the local Mafia is at home and hang up.
    Updated.

  9. #9
    Grand Master AlphaOmega's Avatar
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    A useful note from Pickle.

    Quote Originally Posted by PickleB View Post

  10. #10
    Grand Master wileeeeeey's Avatar
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    Great thread. If you/your family use android it's also worth using the Google phone app instead of the regular one on your phone. Easy to change the main calling app -- https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...android.dialer

    I get spam calls often and don't even know. My phone doesn't ring, I don't see "1 missed call" etc. If I go into my history I can see but it works a dream. Pics below.

  11. #11
    Grand Master AlphaOmega's Avatar
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    ^Oh, nice wileeeeeey. Updated.
    Last edited by AlphaOmega; 18th August 2021 at 12:29.

  12. #12
    Master PhilipK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlphaOmega View Post
    Good point. I'm aiming this at those who don't run businesses - hopefully the members can still use your important point though. Shout if you think it needs to go into the vulnerable message.
    It may be worth including it as good practice for any large/unusual payments.

    People have lost huge amounts of money when buying houses after receiving scam messages providing fake details for their solicitor's bank account. When my wife was buying a car recently, I rang the dealership to check that the bank account details in the email that I had received from the salesman were correct - only took a minute, and gave me the confidence that we were transferring the money to the correct account.

  13. #13
    Grand Master AlphaOmega's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greenandblack View Post
    More of a business one, but confirm all bank account details again by phone (via a trusted number).

    Had a supplier email changing bank details last week that other than tone was flawless. Iíve seen spoofing name with a dodgy email when you click on it:

    John Smith (scammer@scam.com)

    But this one was proper:

    John Smith (John.smith@company.com)

    Which is scary!
    Quote Originally Posted by PhilipK View Post
    It may be worth including it as good practice for any large/unusual payments.

    People have lost huge amounts of money when buying houses after receiving scam messages providing fake details for their solicitor's bank account. When my wife was buying a car recently, I rang the dealership to check that the bank account details in the email that I had received from the salesman were correct - only took a minute, and gave me the confidence that we were transferring the money to the correct account.
    Thanks both, updated.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilipK View Post
    It may be worth including it as good practice for any large/unusual payments.

    People have lost huge amounts of money when buying houses after receiving scam messages providing fake details for their solicitor's bank account. When my wife was buying a car recently, I rang the dealership to check that the bank account details in the email that I had received from the salesman were correct - only took a minute, and gave me the confidence that we were transferring the money to the correct account.
    Friend of mine lost £40k deposit with his builder after a scam email came through with updated payment details. He didnít call to confirm unfortunately.

  15. #15
    Grand Master AlphaOmega's Avatar
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    ^Building company added.

    I know we could mention every sector but it would be good to cover off the main ones.

  16. #16
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    Thanks for the helpful information OP and the rest of the replies.

    I live in a small market town which i am told is 'well to do' (i bring down that average). The whole town has been plagued by random cold calls from 'your bank' or British Gas. Things have got really bad in the last year - i suspect due to covid. The main one at the moment is that the broadband will be switched off as of course everyone working is reliant on this and totally scared when this call comes in.

    I was told that a list of UK phone numbers divided up by areas of older generation, general higher wealth etc is circulating and the criminals are using this to target their audience.

    Be vigilant and help others where you can.

  17. #17
    Grand Master AlphaOmega's Avatar
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    ^Thanks Ray.

    Updated to reflect essential services.

  18. #18
    Grand Master AlphaOmega's Avatar
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    A small bump in case anyone has anything to add.

  19. #19
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    For my aged parents Iíve moved them off laptops and onto iPads so thereís less chance of them being tricked into installing unsavoury software.

    Aside from avoiding the constant aggravation of having to rebuild their laptops for them, it also introduces fingerprint scanning and FaceID for their banking apps. Extra peace of mind there too.

  20. #20
    If urgent action is required, it's usually a scam.

    If something is going to be cut off at short notice, it's a scam.

    If anyone calls me eg from my bank, asking me to confirm my details, I don't. I say you have called me and I have no idea who you are, write to me, goodbye.

    If I am paying someone via bank transfer for the first time, I usually send a nominal amount first and ask the recipient to confirm receipt and the amount received. Then pay the full amount. If I buy anything from SC, expect two payments!

    I think it here I read that people scratch/mark out the 3 digit security numbers on bank cards.

  21. #21
    I don't think parcel delivery texts and emails have been mentioned.

    If I am expecting a delivery, I inform my family.

  22. #22
    Grand Master AlphaOmega's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NickGaters View Post
    For my aged parents Iíve moved them off laptops and onto iPads so thereís less chance of them being tricked into installing unsavoury software.

    Aside from avoiding the constant aggravation of having to rebuild their laptops for them, it also introduces fingerprint scanning and FaceID for their banking apps. Extra peace of mind there too.
    Quote Originally Posted by prexelor View Post
    If urgent action is required, it's usually a scam.

    If something is going to be cut off at short notice, it's a scam.

    If anyone calls me eg from my bank, asking me to confirm my details, I don't. I say you have called me and I have no idea who you are, write to me, goodbye.

    If I am paying someone via bank transfer for the first time, I usually send a nominal amount first and ask the recipient to confirm receipt and the amount received. Then pay the full amount. If I buy anything from SC, expect two payments!

    I think it here I read that people scratch/mark out the 3 digit security numbers on bank cards.
    Quote Originally Posted by prexelor View Post
    I don't think parcel delivery texts and emails have been mentioned.

    If I am expecting a delivery, I inform my family.
    Thanks all, updated.

    At some point, I will try and re-order the OP so it's easier to read.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlphaOmega View Post
    A useful note from Pickle.
    Trouble is that link is nearly 6 years old and little has changed!

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexG View Post
    The following obviously relies on having caller display, but will scupper most scams because they normally will not leave messages.
    Do not answer phone calls from numbers you do not recognise.
    Unhelpfully, some essential services, eg our local hospital, come up as caller withheld or similar.

    Also, does my nut when legitimate callers donít leave a message. You then assume itís a scammer.

  25. #25
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    I have been getting a deluge of nuisance calls,email and text.
    I think my number and personel info has been passed on (or something done with it),I cant prove who did it.

    calls about my NHS number,tax,mail short on postage,bank so many I cant remember them all.
    I block the numbers which comes up as a UK numbers,but it doesent even slow them down.

    Realistic looking emails from all sorts of companys and banks etc.I phoned a few (using the website phone numbers) to check if it was from them as I got worried with some.

    The latest texts are you have a voicemail or something follow this link.

    I cant keep on top of it, its starting to blur,I just delete.

    Its got to the stage where I answer my phone with extreme caution and suspicion and ignore texts.

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by bwest76 View Post
    I have been getting a deluge of nuisance calls,email and text.
    I think my number and personel info has been passed on (or something done with it),I cant prove who did it.

    calls about my NHS number,tax,mail short on postage,bank so many I cant remember them all.
    I block the numbers which comes up as a UK numbers,but it doesent even slow them down.

    Realistic looking emails from all sorts of companys and banks etc.I phoned a few (using the website phone numbers) to check if it was from them as I got worried with some.

    The latest texts are you have a voicemail or something follow this link.

    I cant keep on top of it, its starting to blur,I just delete.

    Its got to the stage where I answer my phone with extreme caution and suspicion and ignore texts.
    TBH, if it's such a problem might be easier to change your name.

  27. #27
    Grand Master Raffe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingstepper View Post
    TBH, if it's such a problem might be easier to change your name.
    You might be on to something. I hear soapy is available, or ditchdigger?
    Someone who lies about the little things will lie about the big things too.

  28. #28
    Grand Master Saint-Just's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingstepper View Post
    TBH, if it's such a problem might be easier to change your name.
    'Against stupidity, the gods themselves struggle in vain' - Schiller.

  29. #29
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    AO Im aware these are not truly in the sense of helping the vulnerable but the could be of use to those who like to bait the callers a little.

    When I have the calls from openreach about closing my internet account I ask them to confirm my IP address. A simple search of Ďwhatís my ipí will confirm it if you donít already know it (Iím sad enough to have memorised the last two segments), Ďopenreachí person will direct you to Google something else but related to ip that shows a generic return with a false ip they will eventually hang up when you continue to tell them they have the wrong ip.

    Again if you have a call from openreach ask them to confirm who your isp is, obviously if you use bt there little to be gained here as that is there default response when pressed.

  30. #30
    Grand Master AlphaOmega's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Morgan View Post
    AO Im aware these are not truly in the sense of helping the vulnerable but the could be of use to those who like to bait the callers a little.

    When I have the calls from openreach about closing my internet account I ask them to confirm my IP address. A simple search of ‘what’s my ip’ will confirm it if you don’t already know it (I’m sad enough to have memorised the last two segments), ‘openreach’ person will direct you to Google something else but related to ip that shows a generic return with a false ip they will eventually hang up when you continue to tell them they have the wrong ip.

    Again if you have a call from openreach ask them to confirm who your isp is, obviously if you use bt there little to be gained here as that is there default response when pressed.
    Good stuff.

    It might be worth us splitting the OP into stuff for the vulnerable and stuff that could help us all.

    We can use this post as a sandbox.

    Notes for everyone
    If you think it's a scammer posing as your ISP, get them to confirm your IP address. If they hesitate then it's likely you should be wary.

    I can add one too.

    If I receive a call, sometimes it's a challenge where they want me to confirm who I am, and I need them to confirm who they are.

    As I don't really want to go back through the IVR phone system, sometimes what I'll do is to get them to say when I last called them. Or to talk obliquely about general sector practices. It's not infallible but it can help.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlphaOmega View Post
    Good stuff.

    It might be worth us splitting the OP into stuff for the vulnerable and stuff that could help us all.

    We can use this post as a sandbox.

    Notes for everyone
    If you think it's a scammer posing as your ISP, get them to confirm your IP address. If they hesitate then it's likely you should be wary.

    I can add one too.

    If I receive a call, sometimes it's a challenge where they want me to confirm who I am, and I need them to confirm who they are.

    As I don't really want to go back through the IVR phone system, sometimes what I'll do is to get them to say when I last called them. Or to talk obliquely about general sector practices. It's not infallible but it can help
    .
    I think you need to be confident in identifying your own ip before it becomes a useful test, as I (likely ineffectually) said they will try and point you to a generic ip they can read back.

    Next time ĎBobí from Ďopenreachí calls Iíll capture the search they ask you perform.


    The point you made about getting them to confirm there identity before divulging any information is a good one, any hesitation in doing so is an alarm bell, any genuine call should immediately acknowledge the need for security and either provide so reasonably assurances or direct you to call back.

    Iíve done the same with ĎAmazoní who are calling to confirm the iPhone they are selling me, the can never tell me my account number, the order number or the last thing I perchasedÖ

  32. #32
    Grand Master AlphaOmega's Avatar
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    ^Ah, OK.

    I'll do a bit of Googling as well. Sounds like a good way of shutting down ISP scammers though so we can stick that at the top of the list.

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