National Insurance number suspended: Scam warning after thousands receive fake phone calls – how to protect yourself
FRAUDSTERS are trying to steal personal details by conducting fake phone calls claiming your National Insurance number will be suspended.
Warnings have been issued to thousands of Brits as the calls trying to falsely steal the personal information are still being reported.
Reports of fraud calls and online scams have skyrocketted during the pandemic.
Action Fraud issued warnings back in March of one particular scam, which tells victims their “National Insurance number has been compromised.”
The call is automated and goes on to tell victims to “press 1 to be connected to the caller."
If they happen to follow the instructions then victims are pressured into giving over their personal details in order to receive a new National Insurance number.
How to protect yourself from fraud
USE the following tips to protect yourself from fraudsters.
- Keep your social media accounts private – Think twice before you your share details – in particular your full date of birth, address and contacts details – all of this information can be useful to fraudsters.
- Deactivate and delete old social media profiles – Keep track of your digital footprint. If a profile was created 10 years ago, there may be personal information currently available for a fraudster to use that you’re are not aware of or you have forgotten about.
- Password protect your devices– Keep passwords complex by picking three random words, such as roverducklemon and add or split them with symbols, numbers and capitals.
- Install anti-virus software on your laptop and personal devices and keep it up to date – This will make it harder for fraudsters to access your data in the first place.
- Take care on public Wi-Fi– Fraudsters can hack or mimic them. If you’re using one, avoid accessing sensitive apps, such as mobile banking.
- Think about your offline information too – Always redirect your post when you move home and make sure your letter or mailbox is secure.
This, however, won't be the outcome as they’ve instead been connected to a criminal who now has all their personal details.
ActionFraud continue to urge the public to remain vigilant to any automated calls that are still attempting to scam thousands of Brits.
When the initial warning was issued, Pauline Smith, Head of ActionFraud said: “It’s important to remember if you’re contacted out the blue by someone asking for your personal or financial details, this could be a scam."
Even when it comes to confirming personal details like your email address, date of birth or mother’s maiden name, criminals can use the information to commit fraud.
It's also important to refrain from giving over your National Insurance number if you don't trust the source of the call.
The crime centre want to make it clear that if you have any doubts about what is being asked of you, you should hang up the phone.
It's very unlikely that a legitimate organisation will rush or pressure you to disclose these details.
ActionFraud have already received more than 34,000 calls and complaints this year relating to the scam compared to last year.
It comes as there are reports of hundreds of other scams including one claiming to be HMRC trying to steal your tax credit details, and another centered around fake texts from Royal Mail.
A National Insurance number is sent to everyone in the UK around the time they turn 16 so they can apply for jobs, and be identified by HMRC and the DWP.
The crime reporting centre outlined some of the ways you can protect yourself if you receive an unexpected phone call, text message or email that asks for your personal or financial details.
They said to always remember to take a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information.
They also said to consider challenging if the request is fake, making it clear that it’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore anyone asking for your details or for money out of the ordinary.
If you believe that you have been scammed into providing personal details to someone over the phone you should contact your bank, building society and credit card company immediately.
You can also report it to ActionFraud using their website or by calling 0300 123 2040.
It's thought that one in three Brits have been scammed and have handed over personal data.
In the first two months of lockdown last year, criminals conned Brits out of almost five millions pounds through scams related to the pandemic.
Even Lidl has had to warn shoppers about a email scam relating to gift cards.
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