Missed call scams

Published: 31 March 2022

If you receive a missed call on your mobile phone from a number you don't recognise, think twice before calling it back.

That's because there's a chance if you do ring back, you'll fall victim to a scam which could leave you out of pocket.

The following explains more about 'missed call' scams, how to spot them and what to do if you think you may have fallen victim.

How do they work?

Scammers use automated systems to dial mobile numbers.

The call often lasts less than a second and comes up as a missed call.

Calls will typically be from a number beginning 070 or 076 (which look like mobile numbers but cost considerably more to call) or from non-geographic numbers such as those beginning 084, 087, 090, 091 or 118.

Anyone who does call the number back is charged for as long as they're on the phone.

What can you do?

If you receive a missed call from a number you don't recognise, think twice before calling back. Particular care should be taken when responding to calls from unknown numbers beginning with 070/076, 084/087, 090/091 or 118. Genuine callers will leave a voicemail or call back later.

To prevent making accidental or inadvertent calls (such as dialling a number when your phone is in your pocket or bag, for example), remove the suspicious number from your call log. Avoid putting direct-dial shortcuts for friends and family on the home screen of your phone and set up a screen lock. This will prevent all use of the phone until you enter the PIN, pattern or password.

You can also bar calls to international and premium rate numbers. Speak to your provider for advice on how to do this.

If you believe you have fallen victim to a missed call scam, contact your provider as soon as possible.

You should also contact Action Fraud, the UK's national fraud reporting centre. Action Fraud is the reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Reports of fraud and any other financial crime in Scotland should be reported to Police via 101.

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