You may have heard of copycat websites or the ‘Microsoft’ phone scam, but how about the premium rate phone numbers scam? Don’t be fooled into paying over the odds to call a government service.
Fraudsters are often thinking of increasingly sophisticated ways to bamboozle you. Most of you know not to reply to an email purporting to be from your bank, but unfortunately this isn’t the only way scammers are trying to target people.
We’ve teamed up with the National Trading Standards eCrime team to keep you abreast of the scams that they’re hearing more and more about. Read on to avoid falling for this latest scam…
Hang up on premium rate scams
Have you heard of the premium rate numbers scam? Fall for it and you could be paying as much as £20 or £30 to call a government helpline that’s normally free or cheap to call.
This scam works by displaying an advert when you search for telephone government services online. Searches for car tax discs, renewing your driving licence and completing your tax return are just some of the areas currently prone to this dastardly scam. Although the listed number diverts you to the right department, it then charges you through the roof for the privilege.
I know some of you have spotted these fake phone numbers in response to our debates on our Costly Calls campaign. Although you might see a government service using a high-rate number, like 0845, the Cabinet Office has advised departments to switch to basic rate 03 numbers as soon as possible. However, no official government service would ever use a premium rate 09 number to deliver a legitimate government service.
So, to avoid losing money due to this scam, look out for 09 numbers. You should also search for legitimate numbers for government services using the official gov.uk website.
Have you or someone you know been fooled by the premium rate numbers scam? And if you have any other scams you’d like to alert us to, we’d love to hear them.