Warning: There’s a new scam harassing mobile phone owners in the UK, here’s what you need to avoid

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There’s a new scam plaguing UK mobile numbers – and it could come as a call or a WhatsApp message (Image: GETTY • EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS)

People in the UK should be on red alert, security experts warn. There has been a spate of scams this week – with a new text message promising you a new voicemail and a delivery to be rescheduled from the post office, both of which UK mobile users have been battling in recent days. And now, unfortunately, there is one more scam to watch out for.

The latest scam alert comes from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, NFIB. The organization has warned phone owners to be alert to incoming calls from mobile numbers that are very similar to their own numbers. Usually the first seven digits of the number correspond to your own mobile number.

Since UK numbers are only 11 digits long, that’s a pretty striking similarity.

These calls usually impersonate well-known government organizations, such as HMRC or the DVLA, as well as law enforcement agencies. Callers are pushed to press “1” to speak to an adviser or police station. To convince those a little unsure about the cold call, the NFIB says the pre-recorded message will usually tell recipients to talk to a counselor about an unpaid fine, a police warrant, or something equally intimidating.

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In May 2021 alone, Action Fraud received reports of some 2,110 scam calls where the caller ID matched the first seven digits of the victim’s own number. Of these, 1,426 (68 percent) referred to HMRC or National Insurance.

And it’s not just phone calls to keep a close eye on. A number of victims claimed to have received a similar scam through messaging platforms, such as WhatsApp. Like the phone calls, the text message would refer to money owed to HMRC, a police warrant, or issues with your National Insurance payments.

Thankfully, Action Fraud – the UK’s national fraud and cybercrime hotline – has tips to keep you safe.

  • First of all, keep in mind that the UK government and law enforcement agencies will never notify you of unpaid fines or outstanding police warrants by calling or texting you. Do not respond to calls or texts you receive about this.
  • Always take a moment to think before giving up any money or your personal information, as this can prevent you from becoming a victim of fraud. Remember it’s okay to decline, deny, or ignore requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you. With legitimate organizations, you can call them back at their official phone number, which you can find on Google or in the store.
  • If you receive a suspicious text message, you can report it by forwarding the message to 7726. It’s free. Meanwhile, suspicious phone/mobile calls can be reported to Action Fraud through their website: actionfraud.police.uk/report-phishing. This will help save others from the same scamn

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Neela Josh
I work as the Content Writer for Gaming Ideology. I play Quake like professionally. I love to write about games and have been writing about them for two years.

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