Ofcom has proposed new rules that will make it harder for scammers to use UK phone networks to target potential victims.
Ofcom are proposing new rules to combat number spoofing, which is when scammers change their caller ID to disguise their identity from the person they are calling, and they’re also proposing new standards to help prevent scammers from being able to use valid phone numbers for their activities.
Scams have been on the rise in recent years – Ofcom research showed 45 million people were targeted by scammers last summer.
Fortunately, there are actions you can take to protect yourself from the scammers. Ofcom has pulled together some top tips to keep yourself safe.
Stay alert and follow three easy steps
If you feel a text or phone call you’ve received is suspicious, trust your instincts. There are three easy steps you can take if you receive a text or call that you’re worried about:
If you receive a suspicious text:
If you receive a suspicious phone call:
Report scam calls to Action Fraud and make your family aware too.
7726 is a number used by most of the major mobile phone companies to allow their customers to report unwanted texts or mobile calls.
You can forward a suspicious text or report a mobile call to 7726 free of charge. When you’ve done this, your mobile provider can investigate the number. Follow this guide to learn how to report to 7726.
Check out technical solutions
For mobile phone users, measures can be applied either on your handset or on your mobile phone network to reduce the risk posed by scam messages or malware. Some of these might be pre-installed or managed by your network provider, and some you can put in place yourself.
If you’re unsure whether these solutions are available to you, or to find out more about how they work, contact your mobile or home phone provider. They should be able to give you more information on what technical measures can be put in place to protect you. See this guide for more information.
If you think you’ve been scammed, report it
If you think you’ve been the victim of a scam, report it to Action Fraud as soon as possible. You can do this by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting the Action Fraud website at www.actionfraud.police.uk.
Action Fraud is the reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Reports of fraud and any other financial crime in Scotland should be made to Police Scotland via 101.
Spread the word
If you think you’ve seen a scam, don’t keep it to yourself. By telling people you know, you’ll help to make more people aware of scams that are out there, and this could help others to avoid falling victim.
Spreading awareness among your friends and family – or even by sharing on social media using screenshots, for example – means more people will be able to keep an eye out for the scammers’ latest tactics.
As well as scams, there are other types and unwanted calls and messages you might want to protect yourself from. Check out Ofcom guidance on how you can do that.
Source: Office of Communications (Ofcom)