SCAM ALERT - National Insurance Number

An unknown caller on mobile phone

January 20, 2021

Unfortunately, the Coronavirus pandemic has given criminals another reason to target and take advantage of vulnerable people by trying to scam them out of their own hard-earned money.

As reported by UK Finance, impersonation scams, whether via telephone, text or email, almost doubled in the first six months of 2020, all due to criminals exploiting the Covid-19 situation. Since then, it’s been predicted that this will rise even more as global illegitimate call centres are getting back to the world of ‘work’.

UK Finance has reported that during the first half of 2020, around 15,000 impersonation scams were reported, which represented an 84% increase on the same six-month period in 2019, the year before.

As a result, the British publish have been and are still being urged to remain vigilant at all times, especially when receiving phone calls, text or emails that you are unsure about.

So what new telephone scam is making its way around the UK?

BE AWARE - New national insurance scam targeting UK areas

In January 2021, new reports have been spreading across the UK stating that victims in certain areas (Lichfield, Burntwood, to name a couple) are currently being targeted with a telephone scam.

The new ‘national insurance’ scam follows a procedure similar to this:

  • Person receives automated call informing them that their national insurance (NI) number has been “compromised” and has fraudulently been used in a certain area of the
    UK.
  • Person is told to press a certain number on their keypad while on the phone to scammers, ‘1’ for example,  in order to “get more information and resolve the issue” before legal action is taken.
  • Victims are also being asked to call a phone number provided by the scammers in order to rectify the issue, but of course, there is no issue to be resolved and this phone number is not safe.
  • Person is told that if they do not press 1 or call the provided telephone number, their national insurance account will be suspended, particularly if they “fail” to appear at the Magistrates Courts.

If you receive a phone call that sounds similar to the above, hang up straight away. Do not respond to it, do not call any phone numbers provided and do not give them any of your personal details.

Most scams will begin with a phone call, text or email claiming that there has been fraudulent activity on the victim’s personal account. Immediately, this should set alarm bells ringing.

You will NEVER get a phone call, text message, email or Whatsapp message from HMRC that:

  • Informs you of a tax rebate or penalty
  • Asks you to provide personal information and/or payment details

What to do if you receive a similar call

If you receive a similar to or exactly the same as the above and get asked to help HMRC with their “investigation”, you should immediately send an email to: [email protected]

In your email, you should include the following:

  • All details regarding the scam; what you’ve been told and asked to do
  • The scammer’s phone number (if you can retrieve this – check your call history)
  •  Exactly when it happened (time and date of scam call)

The above advice has been provided by PCSO of Lichfield Police, Deryn Small.

For more information about reporting fraudulent emails and texts, visit the GOV.UK website where you will find legitimate information.

How to spot a scam (telephone call, text, email)

Scammers make obvious mistakes when targeting victims and it is usually clear when someone is trying to take advantage of you.

Having said this, they can also be very clever and manipulative, so you need to be extra vigilant when checking messages, emails or answering your phone to unfamiliar phone numbers.

Don’t be afraid to hang up – you’re not being rude, you are simply protecting yourself and your finances!

  • Here are some common things that will help you identify a scam:
  • They try telling you that you have been a victim of fraud
  • You will randomly be asked to provide bank details
  • You will be asked to provide other personal information
  • The call is automated (i.e. a real person has not phoned you)
  • You have been given a link to click on which will seem unfamiliar to you and may have numbers and random letters in it
  • You’ll be asked to press a number or call a random number back

For more information, read our full guide: How to Protect Your Savings from Fraud