Shortcode service was set up last September to tackle fraud
More than 130,000 calls have been made to a shortcode service set up last September by Stop Scams UK, an organisation of major telecoms players and banks established in 2019 to tackle fraud.
The ‘159’ service connects customers with their bank if they receive a suspicious call relating to financial matters.
Stop Scams, which counts the likes of BT Group, Three, Google and Microsoft, as well as a host of major banks, was founded to prevent the rising number of scams.
It aims to facilitate cross- sector collaboration as fraudsters exploit sectors including banking, technology and telecoms.
Some 5.1 million fraud offences were committed in the year to September 2021, up 36 per cent compared with 2019, according to the Crime Survey for England and Wales.
Stop Scams UK director of policy and communications Simon Miller believes the pandemic and the digitisation of society have made things worse.
“We have seen scammers impersonating trusted institutions and brands, including the NHS in relation to COVID testing and the vaccine rollout, but also the post office and local councils,” he said.
Range of methods
Miller says that anyone can be a target for fraudsters, as they use a range of methods to con people.
“Typically, a scam will combine websites, text messages and phone calls, as well as complicated social engineering scripts,” he said.
“To stop scams at source will require interventions across the scam journey and across many sectors.”