The Little Book of Big Scams: Fraudsters keep calling, but you're getting wise to them

One Independent reader was almost the victim of two scams recently

Click to follow

Thanks to all of you who got in touch with your experiences of phone scams. The crooks certainly seem to be busy, judging by our postbag! Some of you have sadly been caught out, while others have had near misses. Audrey Jones of London reports that she was almost the victim of two scams recently.

The first time was when she got a phone call late at night in May. "This is Hammersmith and Fulham Police Station," the caller said. "We have just arrested two men who are trying to clone your debit card."

In fact Audrey had just a couple of weeks earlier lost her debit card and reported the fact to her bank and had it cancelled. She had actually already been issued with a new card, but the coincidence could have been enough to persuade her that the call from the "police" was genuine.

Thankfully Audrey kept her head and asked the callers a series of questions, which quickly convinced her they were far from genuine. She also reported the matter to her local police, which sent a constable round the next day to take her statement.

But the scam attacks didn't end there. Soon came a dodgy email. "It was rather a crude attempt to access my bank account," Audrey reports. She once again reported the matter to the police and to her bank and this time was told about The Little Book of Big Scams, a free book put together by the Met Police and NatWest.

"It's an absolutely brilliant publication with a forward by Esther Rantzen," Audrey enthuses. "You should tell readers about it." We did report on it when it was first published, but I agree with Audrey that it's worth a read - especially as this is Scams Awareness Month and a new updated third edition of the book has been published.

One of the key bits of advice in the book is worth repeating: "Only give out your personal details when absolutely necessary and when you trust the person you are talking to." You can download a free copy from and physical copies will also be available in London branches of NatWest from next Wednesday.

Meanwhile another reader – who asked to remain nameless so fraudsters don't have any of his details – wrote in with a way to stop people becoming a victim of scammers. "When I think a caller may be dodgy I tell them I would like to take them through my security system – and then I ask the following questions:

"What is: (1) your name? (2) the address you are calling from ? (3) the name of the company you work for? (4) its address? (5) the reason for your call? (6) where did you get my number from? (7) are you selling anything? (8) what will you do with the information I give you? (9) will you now send any information by post?

"As long as you stick to the script, rarely does the call get beyond question 3," he reports!

Looking for credit card or current account deals? Search here