Your top tips for dealing with phone scams

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

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The Independent Online

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. Audrey Jones of London reports that she was almost the victim of two scams recently.

The first time was when she received 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.”

Thankfully Audrey kept her head and asked the callers a series of questions which quickly convinced her they weren’t genuine. She also reported the matter to her local police.

Next came a dodgy email. “It was rather a crude attempt to access my bank account,” Audrey says. She once again reported the matter to the police and to her bank and 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 foreword by Esther Rantzen,” Audrey says. “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 a new third edition of the book is being published today. You can download a free copy from

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.

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