New ‘159’ emergency scam hotline being trialled to combat rising levels of fraud
A new emergency hotline to combat scams is to be trialled in a bid to tackle rising levels of fraud.
According to reports, banks are launching an emergency 159 number which has been described as the industry’s answer to 999.
Last year criminal gangs stole over £470m by pretending to be your bank or other service provider.
Customers who believe that they are being targeted by fraudsters pretending to be from an official body such as their bank, HM Revenue & Customs or a parcel delivery company will be able to call 159 to receive help, The Times reports.
Using the number 159, it will be run by an industry body called Stop Scams UK, which is funded by the Financial Conduct Authority and Ofcom,
The 159 number – chosen because it goes diagonally across a phone keypad – will initially be in operation for a 12-month trial period.
Stop Scams UK website has more details on the 159 number, it says:
If you think someone is trying to trick you into handing over money or personal details…
…Stop, hang up and call 159 to speak directly to your bank.
159 is the memorable, secure number that contacts you directly to your bank if you think you’re being scammed.
159 works in the same way as 101 for the police or 111 for the NHS. It’s the number you can trust to get you through to your bank, every time.
159 will never call you. Only a fraudster will object to you calling 159.
When should I call 159?
Call 159 if:
Someone contacts you saying they’re from your bank – even if they are not suspicious
You receive a call asking you to transfer money or make a payment – even if it seems genuine
You receive a call about a financial matter and it seems suspicious
Remember, 159 will never call you. But you can rely on 159 to get you through to your bank.
Who is behind 159?
159 has been set up by banks and telephone companies who want to fight fraud. It’s a pilot scheme at the moment. The following banks are part of it:
Lloyds (including Halifax and Bank of Scotland)
NatWest (including Royal Bank of Scotland and Ulster Bank)
That covers over 70% of UK primary current account holders.
We want more banks to join us, and we hope they will over the course of the pilot.
Will it definitely work on my telephone?
Almost all major consumer telephone companies are participating, and over 80% of UK mobiles and landlines will be able to use 159 at the outset. We are working to grow this reach to 100% during the pilot.
The telephone companies are:
BT, including EE and Plusnet
O2, including giffgaff
What happens if 159 doesn’t work, for any reason?
You should contact your bank in the normal way, using the number on your bank card.
How much does it cost to call 159?
Calling 159 will cost the same as a national rate call; usually part of the included minutes in most phone tariffs.
What’s the idea behind the 159 pilot?
159 is a pilot scheme – the idea is to collect evidence to show that calling 159 helps fight fraud. Then we want to make 159 a universal number – available on all phones and for all banks.
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