/ Scams

Scam alert: National Insurance number ‘compromised’ cold call

If you’ve received a pre-recorded message or phone call claiming your National Insurance number has been compromised, you can safely ignore it. It’s a scam.

18/05/21: Phishing emails

Fraudsters appear to be continuing to use the hook of National Insurance numbers as a means to exploit personal information from victims – the scam appears to have now moved to phishing emails:

 

Thank you to an eagle-eyed scam alert subscriber for making us aware of this email, which was not sent by GOV.UK.

Remember, you can visit Gov.uk which offers contact numbers and web chat support if you have concerns regarding your National Insurance number.

Guide: how to spot an email scam

21/04/21: Cold calls

We’ve been made aware that an official sounding voice usually claiming to be from the National Crime Agency or ‘National Office for Serious Crimes’ has been cold calling unsuspecting members of the public, asking them to call back urgently.

Fraudsters will then try to manipulate you into handing over personal information using a web of lies and threats. 

We’ve heard from dozens of people targeted by this scam over the past few months. Action Fraud data shows it is the most reported phone scam of this year so far, having received more than 1,000 reports.

One victim told us that when he returned the call he was falsely told that someone had been using his National insurance number (NINo) to claim Universal Credit.

The scammer told him that if he didn’t hand over his personal details so they could make a ‘correction’ he would be liable to repay thousands of pounds in fraudulently claimed benefits and could be sent to prison. At this point he realised something wasn’t right and put the phone down, but the scammers continued to try and get in touch with him for more than a week.

Other victims have told us similar stories, all in which the scammers told them they had to hand over their personal information to be issued with a new NINo number.

Don’t be pressured for your details

In reality, there’s very little damage anyone could do with just your National Insurance number, even if someone had access to it.

But your other personal details, such as your name, date of birth, address and bank details are much more valuable to criminals. They could use this information to target you with more personalised scams, or try to gain access to your accounts.

No government organisation would ever pressure you to hand over sensitive information, and if you’re uncomfortable or unsure, just hang up the call.

The National Crime Agency is unlikely to call consumers directly about their National Insurance numbers. Which? has contacted it about this cold call and will publish any response here.

If you have concerns about your National Insurance number you can visit Gov.uk which offers contact numbers and web chat support.

How to protect yourself

If you’ve been tricked by this scam, don’t worry. There are a few things you can do to protect yourself.

Contact your bank if you’re worried that you’ve given away your bank account or payment details. 

You can also sign up to Cifas. It’s a not-for-profit fraud prevention service service that monitors the use of your details to apply for bank accounts, credit cards or loans. 

As always, our guides for how to report scams and what you can do if you’ve lost money to a scam are available here.


Comments

If I get a call or text from an unknown source on my smart phone I immediately assume its a scam and block that number. Is this sufficient or should I report every case to my phone provider ?

John Sutcliffe says:
6 July 2021

Still doing this scam as of 6/7/21

Tom says:
8 July 2021

Still happening 8/7/21

Peter Copping says:
6 July 2021

Got 2 national insurance scams today,both different numbers!! Please dont fall for it everybody!!

Just had phone call claiming my national insurance number was being fraudulently used. Press 1 . Strange thing was the number that called me had the same first 8 digits of my mobile – anyone else had this?

Today! My first 7 mobile numbers and yes, told to press 1.

Jools says:
8 July 2021

just had this same number as my mobile apart from the last 3.

Gav says:
9 July 2021

Yep same first 5 digits of my number too ! W*****s

Same thing first five digits were same as my phone

Susan Cox says:
15 July 2021

Yes I did about 30 minutes ago and the number that called had the first 7 digits of my phone number. I just put the phone down when it said press 1

Andrew Moore says:
15 July 2021

Hi, I received one this morning also and yes very similar number to my own.

Liz says:
21 July 2021

yes, all digits apart from the very last number is identical…!

Sylvia says:
7 July 2021

I had a call from nino so they connected me with the local police and the phone number is the same I refuse do give my details cause I am not sure who is over the phone . But how can they have or fake the same number

SF says:
7 July 2021

I had two landline calls this morning, then also one on my mobile. So I feel my information, ie tel.nos. have been compromised from a website. Now wondering what the best way forward is.

Mark says:
8 July 2021

I have just received call from so call person from national insurance number feud saying that my number would be suspended it was a scam

Karl Booth says:
8 July 2021

Just had a call from 07921453651 claiming my National Insurance was compromised (digital voice)……. scam alert!!

Andy Ash says:
8 July 2021

Getting aggro from these people today. Wish they wold just give up and stop breathing.

Got the same automated message about my NI number this morning – number showed up as 07763 775983. Funny thing is I had a message last week about Amazon activity and guess what – the same voice.

Should have added, same first 8 numbers

Emma says:
13 July 2021

Hi
I answered a call from a mobile with an automated message saying my national insurance number had been compromised I realised after pressing 1 that it was a scam-a person came on the line sounding foreign saying you’re through to the national insurance team or something like that, can’t remember what they said-I said what’s this about and then it bleeped and rang off. Also noticed first 8 numbers same. Has anyone else had this?

Simon Johnson says:
13 July 2021

Same scam as most here. Number that phoned me was 07472 464564. Block it out peeps..

Radek says:
14 July 2021

Same call from 07488 885 589

Tracey says:
19 July 2021

I’ve blocked 3 calls so far within a couple of hours this morning.

wrc555s says:
19 July 2021

Just had the NINo call from 01274 688635 stating that my NINo may be suspended due to fraudulent financial transactions. When asked to press 1, I just hung up. Complete t*****s..!

Dean says:
21 July 2021

These scammers seem to be getting quite aggressive. I’m being repeatedly called by them (3 times in the last 24 hours) from random unofficial-looking mobile numbers. How stupid do they think we are?

A number of correspondents here are curious about the calls they receive from telephone numbers similar to their own.

The following is advice issued by my local [Norfolk County Council] trading standards service –

We are highlighting a warning from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) for residents to be vigilant of scam calls that appear to be coming from numbers similar to their own.

“Commonly, the first seven digits (07nnnnn) match the victim’s own number. 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. Of these, 1,426 (68%) referred to HMRC or National Insurance.

“Victims have also reported receiving these types of calls, and messaging, via widely used messaging apps, such as WhatsApp.

“The NFIB offer the following advice to help protect yourself:

“Government and law enforcement agencies will not 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.

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

The advice does not explain how the criminals manage to mimic the recipient’s dialling code but it is technically feasible using ‘number spoofing’ technology and is also used to by-pass householders’ call-blocking technology so that blocking such calls is ineffectual.