Urgent warning over new phone scam that sees hackers mimic your own number

Brits are being urged to stay vigilant against scam calls that appear to be coming from their very own phone number.

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) has issued an urgent warning to everyone with a mobile phone about the scam, the Daily Record reports.

When you see the number pop up on your call display, it may be confusing at first because the first seven digits will probably match your own unique phone number.

This tricks people into answering as they believe it's a legitimate phone number — but is in fact the latest dangerous scam being used by crooks to dupe potential fraud victims into revealing their personal and financial information.

The calls impersonate well-known government organisations, or law enforcement agencies, and will ask the recipient of the call to "press 1" in order to speak with an advisor, or police officer, about unpaid fines or police warrants.

In May 2021, 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 and of these, 1,426 – some 68% – referred to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) or National Insurance.

Victims have also reported receiving these types of calls, and messages through widely-used messaging apps, such as WhatsApp.

How to protect yourself from this new type of scam

Essential things to remember:

  • Scottish and UK Government and law enforcement agencies will never notify you about unpaid fines or outstanding police warrants by calling or texting you.
  • Do not respond to any calls or texts you receive about these.
  • Always take a moment to stop and think before parting with money or your personal information, it could prevent you from falling victim to fraud.
  • Remember, it’s okay to reject, refuse or ignore any requests.
  • Only criminals will try to rush or panic you into giving out your personal or financial details.

How to report possible scam activity

If you receive a suspicious text message, you can report it by forwarding the message to 7726 free of charge.

Suspicious telephone/mobile calls can be reported to Action Fraud via their website here.

Scam emails can be reported to the National Cyber Security Centre via their new Suspicious Email Reporting Service here.

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