/ 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
Ronan says:
18 August 2021

Received a call today from a London number 020 312902161 which was a recorded message saying my National Insurance number will be terminated due to unethical trading practices and that I should press 1 to stop it happening to speak to someone. This is a new one to me. The previous ones I received had a different voice in the recording and said my national insurance number has been compromised. So there are probably various guises of the same scam. Just hang up but it is so annoying and it does make your heart skip a beat for a moment.

Suzzy says:
28 August 2021

A lady I know through work got a phone call about a compromised NI number .she lives in a care home and was really upset.I told her to let the staff handle all her calls .I hate the people who try to take advantage of people who challenges.This lady has lived her whole life in a care facility and her only contact some weeks is a quick word with me at the shop.I am beyond angry . 😠

Suzzy says:
28 August 2021

A lady I know through work got a phone call about a compromised NI number .she lives in a care home and was really upset.I told her to let the staff handle all her calls .I hate the people who try to take advantage of people who challenges.This lady has lived her whole life in a care facility and her only contact some weeks is a quick word with me at the shop.I am beyond angry . 😠

Pip Norris says:
31 August 2021

I just received a call from 0161 240 5000 – a Manchester number – a pre-recorded (sounded threatening) message saying that my National Insurance Number will be ‘suspended’ if I don’t press ‘1’ to talk to someone! I didn’t press one but as the other guy says – made my heart skip a beat too!

Adele says:
5 October 2021

I have just received a call from 07432325263, on answering an official voice told me I had a serious problem with my NI and said my assets would be compromised, he then said I must press 1 to be put through to an officer. I was then cut off. There is no such number as I have tried to call back several times. I have had this problem once before. This could scare most people and its appauling, load of bloody idiots who make money from scamming decent, working and the vunerable. Looking forward to them calling back so i can give them a piece of my mind! Rant over…..