It appears not everyone believes this to be the season of goodwill to all, with a number of phone scams aimed at businesses coming to light recently.
The scams involve the use of 070 numbers, with the perpetrators claiming to be interested in the goods or services supplied by the business and requesting a call back
It is clear that by asking to be called back on an 070 number, the scammers hope businesses will mistake it for a mobile number. However, 070 numbers are Non-Geographic numbers and not mobile phone numbers as some people assume.
These 070 numbers are often referred to as Personal Numbers and calls can cost between 4p and 65p per minute if calling from a landline, with a set-up fee of up to 51p often charged too. Worryingly for smaller businesses returning the call from a mobile could incur a charge of between 30p and £1.50 per minute.
The request for a call back will sometimes come via email and again the perpetrator will claim to be interested in the products and services the business supplies. Lots of different business types have been targeted, including Hotels, Garages, Financial Advisers and Estate Agents.
The purpose of the scam is to make money from the call charges, so the scammers will work hard to keep the phone call running as long as possible. When someone from the business innocently returns the call, via landline or mobile, the scammer will ask questions, request product information is explained in more detail, ask for things to be repeated etc., all the time sounding genuinely interested in the services and goods on offer – they are not, this is a scam.
A recent variant of the scam involves a conference call, where the scammer being called back asks for a ‘colleague’ to be added to the call. Unfortunately when the business ends the call, typically suspecting nothing, the telephone system effectively leaves the other called parties connected. The scammers will then leave their line open for as long as possible to create a high call charge.
It is reported that the regulator for 070 numbers is trying to close down the numbers involved in these suspected scams, but this crime is a real threat with new numbers readily available to continue the scams.
This is a worrying time for such scams, as over the festive period there is a higher chance of people not used to dealing with sales calls, taking and receiving messages to do with returning calls. We therefore strongly recommend you circulate this message to everyone within your business, your customers and contacts to help stop the scammers.
Numbers starting 070 are Personal Numbers and not mobile phone numbers.
If you bring other callers into a conference call, make sure they all hang up first.
If you think you are being targeted please report it to Action Fraud.
Using InTouchNow to screen your calls will help prevent you becoming a victim of the scammers.
If you wish to discuss this problem or our call answering services in any more detail, please call InTouchNow on 0845 601 7726.