/ Money

Listen to this new IP address scam phone call

A member recently contacted us when they received a scam phone call about their IP address. Fortunately, they recorded the call so we could warn others. Have you heard this one?

I recently received a scam call as I was rushing to the train station one Monday morning – I missed it, but they left a message.

As I juggled tapping in, checking the board and listening to the voicemail, I almost dropped my phone in shock. Apparently, I hadn’t done my taxes right and there was a warrant out for my arrest. I had to call them back on that number immediately.

In my distracted and panicked state, I almost believed them, but I soon realised it was a scam and we turned the voicemail into a cautionary video on how to spot the HMRC voicemail scam.

IP distress

We’ve since been alerted to yet another type of voicemail scam – and this time it’s about your IP address.

Another automated message left in a woman’s voice says:

“In 24 to 48 hours as your IP address has been compromised from several countries so we need to change your IP address and router which will be free of charge… so please press 1 to get connected with the technician.”

Here’s the full recording:

Like the HMRC scam voicemail, this IP address phone scam also preys on panic and urges you to make a rushed decision – to call them back before you can properly think things through.

Panic response

It’s worth repeating here some sage advice for spotting any scam: being pressured to act quickly is one of the main warning signs something could be a scam.

The scammers will take advantage of your panic and when you call them back, they’ll sound convincing and will ask you questions to steal your personal data.

This in turn may well see you put on a ‘suckers list’ of future targets for scams.

What to do

If you get a voicemail or message out of the blue that worries you, make sure you don’t give out any personal information. And if you’re sure it’s a scam, hang up.

Always question any out of the blue phone call – whether they say they’re from a legitimate organisation or not – if they ask for banking details or credit card information.

For more tips on what to do if you’re contacted out of the blue, read our free how to spot a scam guide.

It’s also really important you report the scam so the authorities can investigate it and shut it down as quickly as possible. You can do this with Action Fraud’s online reporting tool.

Have you had any experiences with scam calls? What were they and did you call them back while you were rattled? Share your stories with us.


Quite a lot of clues in that voicemail that it was far from genuine, but busy folk could be pressured into making a mistake, particularly now that so many companies use this method for warning of water and electricity outages.

Indeed – with many companies using automated messages these days it could well find a victim. I worry about the more vulnerable people who may live alone/not have too much contact with others when it comes to calls like this – anything ‘official’ sounding could be enough to keep them on the line and concerned.

The American idioms are the big give-away. It just shows the power of simple pressure from an authoritative-sounding voice. Always count to ten before reacting. Stop and think – do the HMRC actually have my phone number? Do they really employ Officer Sarah Wilson? – In this country civilian officials do not state their designation when giving their name and in any case “Officer” is not a designation used by the HMRC.

Is this a modern version of the “new lamps for old” scam?

How did that one work, Derek?

All in all, it caused a lot of fuss, a bit of a pantomime really, but I gather the scammer was eventually caught and punished:


Bit of a three ring circus, though. Ingenious in its way…

In the context of spotting scams, it is unfortunate that this Conversation used language like this – “Which? has attained two recordings of scam voicemails . . .”. The correct word is “obtained”, not “attained”.

Patrick Taylor says:
10 November 2018

Does seem astonishing that despite your mentioning it here [even if misattributed to this Conversation] it remains uncorrected. The item was posted on the 11th October.

We have been told Which? does operate with checks of spelling and has editors but this seems to be inadequate and I still think that to prevent the reputation for accuracy and literacy being damaged that loyal readers, who have already offered, could be added to a nominal paid role to improve the product being offered. Or even provide voluntary screening and be paid [rewarded] for spotting items that are wrong.

attain /əˈteɪn/ verb
past tense: attained; past participle: attained

succeed in achieving (something that one has worked for).
“clarify your objectives and ways of attaining them”
synonyms: achieve, accomplish, reach, arrive at, come by, obtain, gain, procure, secure, get, grasp, hook, net, win, earn, acquire, establish, make

Agreed, Patrick. I hadn’t realised I had misattributed the misuse of “attained”: following links I ended up somewhere else and there it was. I thought I was still within the boundaries of this Conversation! Just shows you how complicated websites can be. I don’t usually bother to open in-text links – more often than not they’re just teasers or big time-wasters.

Hi all. Completely agree on the attained/obtained point – but I can’t see where it was mentioned here on Convo – have I missed something?

With regards to editing and checks, we do of course have sub editors who check everything for spelling/punctuation/grammar and accuracy etc, and all our content is edited. I’m on the mailing lists where it’s passed from editorial to the subs – so can confirm it definitely happens!

Sometimes mistakes can happen despite our best efforts, but if you ever spot one on any part of Which? please do let me know and I’ll get it corrected.

It was in the “HMRC scam voicemails: how to spot this new tax scam” document that was accessed via the in-text link in the fourth paragraph of the Intro to this Conversation.

It has subsequently been corrected.

I feel for the poor souls who pay attention to such rubbish and get sucked in.

Trust No One – Especially one with an electronic voice

I had one of these automated calls though the message was not in an American accent. I ignored it.

Most of us don’t have a fixed IP address anyway.

Some weeks ago I had an ‘IP Address’ scam call. I put the phone down, recognizing a scam, and the malevolent scammers then called my number again and again, every few minutes, until I stopped them by unplugging the phone. Wicked people!

I have a phone which can block up to 10 calls,as soon as I get a scam call is blocked as they do keep calling back.

What is an IP address?

Internet Protocol address – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IP_address

Hi Pam – it’s a unique string of numbers, separated by full stops, that identifies each computer or device using the Internet Protocol to communicate over a network. In other words, when you connect to the internet from any device, it will have a unique IP address. Your computer sends out a request for information, and the search or whatever sends it back to the “I P address” you sent it from. Of course, it’s much more complicated than that, but that’s it in a nutshell.

Your local IP address is probably but then again almost every PC/device uses it, unless you know what your’re doing and change it, you can then have great fun when the silly scammers tell you it’s in that case. Your ISP will however provide you with a temporary one when you connect to the internet that’s unique to you that others in the world will see you as.

So if a scammer tells you it’s they might as well be telling you water is wet. But that’s not the IP address the world sees you at, which of course is why they don’t know it and hence why they can’t quote it.

Alec Fray says:
10 November 2018

I have had a few of these calls over the last three weeks, they are always a recording with an American accent. I just hang up. I notice though that they have a UK phone number though I have never bothered checking this. As I say, hang up.

Hi Alec – yes, the scammers are getting increasingly devious. They “spoof” a UK telephone number, sometimes even from your own locality, hoping that you’ll pick-up, thinking that it’s a local caller!

These messages have been around for some months a slight variation on compromised from California we have had one that said within the next for hours.
A new scam involves the Ministry of Justice, which briefly states that you will be fined if you do not contact them immediately. Funnily then line went dead when I stated that I work for the MOJ.

We get these several times a day

glenn says:
10 November 2018

I don’t pick up on numbers that are not on my contacts list or they are “international”.
If they leave a message then I get back to them if they appear genuine. I have been doing this for some time now and if I get 4 calls a week now it’s unusual

Pam Hubbard says:
10 November 2018

Once when I had call saying they were from Micros soft, I laughed (without thinking) they put the phone down. If they stay on the line I say “I know its scam, you know it’s a scam so I’m not talking to you.” Only few carry on with the call after that.

Yes indeed, Pam, I’ve laughed at them as well – they hope to find someone who will believe them! I played along with one recently, and he decided to lapse into 4-letter obscenities. I laughed even more, and he disconnected!

Sophie Ashford says:
10 November 2018

I have one big advantage against scam phone calls. I am severely deaf and can’t hear a blooming thing on the phone! I have a mobile on which I text only. Anyone trying to ring gets the call declined swipe. I have yet to receive a text scam.

I have received this scam message on my answerphone too. I didn’t respond to it but added the phone number to the Call Protect feature that Plusnet offer for free. By dialling 1572 it redirects any ‘unwanted’ numbers to an answer machine automatically and you can hear any messages that are left in the future – just in case one of the numbers was a genuine one after all.

Brent says:
11 November 2018

Just play along for a few minutes and waste their time and money on the call.

I’ve been using the internet or its predecessors since 1984 and thought I could spot a scam a mile away. Some 6 weeks ago I fell victim to a scam that appeared to come from BT, it was very convincing, including the caller coming from the Indian subcontinent. I lost £1800 from my bank account, which my bank determined was my fault and that they would not refund the money. Lesson learned the hard way, and I suppose that I should be grateful that I’ve only been caught once in 34 years.

Hi Peter, so sorry that happened to you. Can you tell us more about what happened?

I read a story about one person who played a different game to receiving these calls. Basically he set himself up with a premium number for his landline. Calls from family or business went to he mobile.
When he received these calls he kept them talking as long as possible and the longer he talked the more money he was making.

That would be good young Lee Beaumont.

I find having a call screening phone saves me from getting such calls. Don’t know why more people have got one.

Yes it;s a shame that I need it, but I can’t wait for phone companies or govt to do anything about it.

Au contrair!

Two phone companies HAVE done something about it… Sky with Sky Shield and TalkTalk with Call Safe.

We await the others to follow.

Rule 1: let the answerphone deal with any number you don’t recognise. They generally do not leave messages
Rule 2: If you do get curious and answer the call, just tell the caller to “Foxtrot Oscar” and hang up. Don’t be polite, they don’t deserve it.

We get two or three calls a day, yesterday they made it up to 10. The phone number they come from changes, but they are quite often similar numbers, i guess selected by a computer.
A recorded message, quite often from “Kate”. The theme is that we are going to be cut off by BT or Talk talk, usually BT, and that we should dial 1 or stay on the line.
Reported to the TPS and the ICO but don’t expect they will stop.
Today we had a call from Telephone Preference Management who told me that they would stop scam calls, I informed them that their’s was one I wanted to stop!

Barry says:
18 November 2018

These days we leave our answerphone on virtually all the time, coupled with caller display which usually costs a bit extra but is worth it. In the case of genuine callers, you will of course see their name if it’s in your phone’s memory, while others will usually leave a message if you’re out. Nuisance callers, including scammers, usually don’t leave a message, but if they do it at least gives you time to reflect that it’s probably a scam and to ignore it. (The only exception I make to ignoring calls from numbers I don’t recognise is those from “number withheld”, or what my phone describes as “private callers”, as they are often from medical people, whom I’m having to see quite a lot at present.)

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