A new hotline has been developed to fight against fraud. The new number, 159, is a way for people to connect directly and securely to their bank if they suspect if they are being scammed. The aim of this hotline is that if anyone is contacted out of the blue from someone claiming to be from your bank and asking you to transfer your money, you then hang up and ring 159 to verify if this call was real or not.
During 2020, criminal gangs stole over £470m from people and small businesses by claiming to be a bank or service provider. These criminals are very sophisticated and convincing in their approach to appear genuine, using persuasive scripts to pressurize people to part with their money and technology to sound like they are from a real bank.
You have every right to call 159, even if someone sounds suspicious or not. A genuine bank or provider will never try and convince you not to contact 159. It might sound like an extreme to call this hotline, however these criminals are very good at what they do and even the most cautious person can get caught out if they aren’t careful.
159 is currently a pilot scheme that will last a year, with most major telecom firms involved (O2, Vodafone, TalkTalk, Three, BT etc). It is expected that more banking institutions and telecom firms will join the scheme as time goes by. If the pilot scheme is successful, it will then become a universal number offered by all telephone providers.
Please note that not all banks are part of the 159-hotline scheme. To name a few of the banks that aren’t a part of the scheme are HSBC, Metro, TSB, Virgin, Monzo, Atom. It is best to check if your bank is a part of the scheme or not.
If you are ever unsure about a call, text or an email from a bank, HMRC or other provider, hang up or delete the email (without clicking on any links) and get in touch with the institution directly.
Reference – BL136-Dec-21