If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be calling from your bank or the local council, your initial reaction will be to take this call at face value. After all, these people are likely to have your phone number, so them calling you out of the blue isn’t completely unexpected. It is definitely uncommon, it is not as if there are a lot of calls made in this nature, but it is not beyond the realms of possibility, and this is why this is sort of call is often the ideal way for fraudsters to deal with fraud.
When people commit fraud, there is a need for there to be some sort of plausibility about the call and the information provided. If the fraudster phones up and states that they are calling from an organisation that has no link to the victim, alarm bells should be ringing and the victim should be hanging up rather quickly. However, if there is a link to the victim, which there will be if the local council calls, you can see why the person taking the call will stop and think about what they have to say.
Warnings about Phone Scams have been issued
Sadly, this has been the case in some areas of England of late, and a number of police forces have had to issue warnings about phone call scams. In these instances, the caller states that they work for an administration department in the local council and they are calling to inform the victim that they are in actual fact due a rebate that could run into thousands of pounds. The premise for this rebate relates to a supposed change of grading for local tax bands. The premise of getting something for nothing is great and while the conversation is still taking place, you can probably bet that the victim is already imagining what they can spend their money on.
However, in order to receive the money that they are due, they need to pay a processing fee up front to access the funds. This is the real point of the phone call and while most people catch on to the fact that this is a fraud, you can see why some people will be too busy thinking about their windfall to pay too much attention to this element. While the vast majority of people will hang up at this point or direct abuse towards the caller, there will be some callers who believe that this is a suitable exchange in order to get the money and they will provide their bank details or transfer money.
A Fraudster is just looking for a simple chance
This is all the fraudster needs and then they take the money while offering promises that the victim will receive their rebate in the near future. Of course, the rebate never comes and the victim has lost out on their money. There is also the fact that the fraudster may call again at a later date, or pass the victims details on to other fraudsters. There are some statistics available which indicates that victims of fraud will face later attempts of fraud, and sadly, a sizable proportion of people will be duped once again. One of the problems comes with the fact that the follow-up call references the first fraud and promises to help recoup the money that the person lost. This can be an enticing prospect for the people who lost out on their money but before they know it, they will have lost out on additional sums of money.
This council style scam is a great example of the crimes that are referred to as 419 or Nigerian frauds. The basic premise involves the promise of a sizable return as long as you pay some money up front. This type of scam is well known but the chance of getting a lot of money still convinces some people to hand over money when at other times they would spot frauds and scams from a distance.
Phone frauds remain quite common and this style of fraud and boiler room scams are still commonly used by fraudsters. It may seem as though we are moving to a digital age where communication takes place on computer but there were still be a great use of phones for many years to come. This is mainly good news but sadly, it also means that there is a platform for fraudsters to use to their advantage.
Andrew Reilly is a freelance writer with a focus on news stories and consumer interest articles. He has been writing professionally for 9 years but has been writing for as long as he can care to remember. When Andrew isn’t sat behind a laptop or researching a story, he will be found watching a gig or a game of football.