Telephone and internet scams across the UK have reached an unprecedented high, with Britons now more likely to receive a landline call from a scammer, than from our best friends or family members.
With these crimes getting more frequent and more sophisticated, it's no surprise that nearly half of those surveyed by TalkTalk confessed they would be unable to spot a scam if it happened to them.
To address this problem and help people better protect themselves, TalkTalk has worked with fraud prevention expert James Freedman to reveal five of the most common techniques scammers use to get us to part with our cash and personal information.
Top tactics criminals use on scam calls:
1. Pretend to be from a trusted brand - mentioning a well-known company or brand in their introduction means you're much more likely to believe the call is genuine and less likely to hang up. Scammers typically purport to be from trusted organisations, such as banks, utilities companies and even HMRC
2. Encourage you to share personal details - by quoting some personal information, the fraudster encourages you to share more personal details that they could use to put you at risk
3. Convince you there is a problem - scammers will tend to outline a problem that doesn't exist. In other circumstances it may sound strange but because we are caught unaware in the moment, we believe them.
4. Create a sense of panic - they tend to describe a problem that needs immediate action, because adding a sense of urgency means you won't have enough time to question them
5. Make the call sound plausible - bringing another person into the conversation, playing the background noise of a busy office or just reminding you of that big brand they represent are all techniques to make the call sound credible
Make sure you look out for these tell-tale signs next time you take a call from a stranger. If we all stay vigilant, then together we can beat the scammers!