Last week I received a call, it was a cold call, nothing new there. The lady who I spoke to sounded very nice and pleasant. Her manners were impeccable, and she proceeded to inform me about a refund I was due.
The refund was on the back of a cancelled event in the lead up to Christmas, but it became another casualty and statistic due to the current pandemic. This lady had the event and our company name, but then asked me to start validating banking details.
Having worked in the mobile telecoms arena and seen the different types of fraud committed even against the organisation I was working for then; it raised an immediate red flag.
I asked the lady if I could speak to another colleague, a gentleman associated with the event but he was unavailable due to ongoing meetings, but I was assured he would call back……….he never did.
I politely asked her if she could validate some of the company data that she should have had, perhaps a postcode for the business or a date I made the original payment. None of this she could provide.
The call soon ended, whilst I had gained no money, I had not lost any! However, it made me think of how many other small businesses and people are being targeted by both scammers and phishing attacks.
As we go into another lockdown these will only increase, therefore please remain vigilant. Whilst I was lucky, others are not.
These are some base rules you should follow for cold callers.
- Reject cold calls.
- Sign up for a call blocking service if you can. This might not stop all scam calls, but it will stop cold callers.
- If you receive a phone call from someone you do not know, always ask for the name of the person you are speaking to and who they work for. Check this information by calling the company’s office on a different phone line in case the caller is holding the line open.
- Never give out your personal, bank details, full credit card or online account details unless you made the call, and the phone number came from a trusted source.
- Never assume that someone is who they say they are just because the number on your caller display matches that of the organisation you know.
- Never trust someone because they sound nice or make you feel good.
- Scammers can clone telephone numbers of organisations they want to impersonate and make the number appear on your caller ID display.
- It is best not to respond to text messages or missed calls that come from numbers you do not recognise or are not expecting.
I will also share some information later about phishing e-mails as these have also become prevalent during lockdown and what to look out for.
Stay alert and stay safe from scammers.