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Martin Lewis shares his advice for any unexpected calls from a number claiming to be your bank

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Hollie Richardson
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Martin Lewis

If an unknown number claiming to be your bank calls and asks you to ring them back, Martin Lewis has this advice.

Last year, UK Finance reported that impersonation scams almost doubled in the first half of 2020. Recent research by Credit Karma found that under 35s are most likely to fall victim to online scams and fraud. It’s likely, then, that a lot people reading this will have encountered such a scam.

It can happen to anybody, regardless of how savvy and smart a person is. In fact, we regularly hear about people’s awful experiences.

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That’s why finance expert Martin Lewis called for changes to be made to the Online Safety Bill to include the policing of scam adverts on this morning’s Good Morning Britain (Wednesday 30 June). And, as part of his discussion, he gave a quick but important tip for anyone who receives a call from a number claiming to be their bank.

“I think, ‘Well if I’ve spoken to someone on the phone and that’s a real person – it builds trust when you speak to someone,” Ranvigh Singh told Lewis and Susanna Reid. 

He replied to both his co-hosts by asking what they would do if a number claiming to be their bank called them: “They’ve called you saying there’s an emergency, call us back on this number – what do you do?

“What most people tend to say is, ‘I’ll go find the real number and I’ll make sure I call the real number.’ But I’d tell you not to do that.”

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He explained: “Because if someone has sent you a message or you’ve had a call, they can leave the phone line open and when you dial they can mimic a dial tone and mimic you ringing in, and you can still be talking to the scammer even if you have found the right number.

“If you want to call your bank, go and call the right number, call them on a different phone, or call them on the same phone but dial a friend first. Because if you [call] a friend and they say ‘Hello Barclay’s’ then you know it’s a scam.

“That’s how sophisticated it is,” he concluded, “The government needs to improve this”.

You can find more information on fraud and scams, and how to protect yourself from them, on the Money Saving Expert website. You can also speak to Citizen’s Advice or Take Five To Stop Fraud.

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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…