• As telephone scams continue to grow at an alarming rate, telecoms provider TalkTalk teams up with Esther Rantzen and Get Safe Online to launch major new offensive against fraudsters

Telephone and internet scams are accelerating at an unprecedented rate in the UK, with over 2.5 million households receiving a scam call in the last month alone. To tackle the growing menace, value-for-money telecoms provider TalkTalk launched a major scam-busting campaign earlier this year, along with leading digital safety advocates Get Safe Online.

As well as an online hub, full of helpful tips and tricks to defeat would-be fraudsters, the Beat the Scammers campaign also regularly produces research to shine a light on our attitudes and behaviours with regards to scams. New research released by the campaign today shows that even after sensing that a call is suspicious, one in five (20%) Britons* wouldn’t know what to do in the heat of the moment. This prompted a major new initiative from the Beat the Scammers campaign: Hang Up, Make Tea, Call Back!

Donna Moore, Head of Scam Prevention at TalkTalk said: “People aren’t stupid – often they sense something isn’t right when they receive one of these calls, but scammers are really good at bamboozling and pressuring people. So we thought, what would happen if we could just create a moment of calm where people could reflect on what was happening? And how better to do that than with a cup of tea! Our customers are our number one priority, that’s why we’re determined to continue taking a stand against telephone and internet threats.

In addition to engineers providing TalkTalk customers with an information booklet and a tea coaster reminding them to ‘Hang Up, Make Tea, Call Back’, the campaign has also launched a short video showing the comic results that might ensue if a customer did just that. Today, consumer champion and TV personality Esther Rantzen will also be live on air giving advice and commentary on the growing threat of scams.

Esther Rantzen said: “Telephone and internet scams are soaring - it’s never been more important to know the signs and be prepared when a would-be fraudster strikes. I have been on the receiving end of attempted scams myself and have come across many victims who have been deeply affected both financially and emotionally by scamming. TalkTalk is leading the charge to help protect its customers, and the three easy steps of ‘Hang up, Make Tea and Call Back’ are a great way to arm people with the tools to stop criminals in their tracks.”

  1. Hang up - Fraudsters are using increasingly sophisticated techniques to make themselves seem plausible and win your trust. Think calmly about what you are being told and ask yourself if it makes sense. If you’re being asked for a lot of personal details or it simply doesn’t feel right, hang up.

  2. Make tea - Making a cup of tea is the perfect opportunity to get away from the phone, pause and reflect on what to do next.

  3. Call back - If the caller claimed to be from a company, call the official number (not the number you were called by) and ask whether they’ve called you. If they didn’t, they can help you report the possible scam.

More advice and expert information on protecting yourself from scams can be found on TalkTalk’s dedicated Scam Buster online hub www.talktalk.co.uk/beatthescammers.




Notes to Editors

For more information please contact TalkTalk Press Office on talktalk@mhpc.com or 020 3128 6902.

The research by TalkTalk and Get Safe Online comprised three surveys, one of 2000 adults by Censuswide between 20th – 22nd October 2016; another of 2,000 UK adults carried out in May 2016*; and the other was an ICM survey of 1004 UK adults carried out between 1st-6th April 2016.


Beat the Scammers

  1. TalkTalk’s Beat the Scammers campaign is a nationwide education and awareness drive which launched this summer as part of TalkTalk’s long term security strategy.

  2. TalkTalk proactively blocks over 92 million scam and nuisance calls a month at a network level, before the phone even rings – double the amount a year ago. The company is the only telecoms provider to offer a scam call report and block service, and was the first to offer free privacy calling features, to help customers minimise and block unwanted calls.

  3. Earlier this year, TalkTalk also became the first UK business outside of the banking sector to replace passwords with voice biometrics, and to date over 600,000 customers have taken up the safer, more secure service.


Top telephone scam tactics

  1. Pretend to be from a trusted organisation – mentioning a well-known company in their introduction means you’re much more likely to believe the call is genuine and less likely to hang up.

  2. Encourage you to share personal details - by quoting some personal information, the fraudster encourages you to share more personal details that they could use to put you at risk.

  3. Create a sense of panic - they tend to describe a problem that needs immediate action, because adding a sense of urgency means you won’t have enough time to question them.

  4. Make the call sound plausible - Bringing another person into the conversation, playing the background noise of a busy office or just reminding you of that big brand they represent are all techniques to make the call sound credible.


    Video showing more techniques available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbwklA9sTvg


Statistics on the growth of phone and online scams

  • Research from theMoney Advice Service shows eight scam calls are placed every second from fraudsters purporting to be banks, utilities companies, even HMRC.

  • Research from Get Safe Online revealed a 20% rise in ‘phishing’ emails, calls and texts from criminals masquerading as trusted entities in order to access confidential information or steal money.

  • According to Financial Fraud Action, fraudsters stole £755m from Britons during 2015 – a 26% increase on the year before. Losses to online and telephone banking scams totalled £168.6m in 2015, a staggering 72% increase compared with the year before. 

  • The Office of National Statistics reports 5.1 million incidents of fraud in England and Wales last year, with over 2 million individuals experiencing financial loss. 

  • Figures fromAction Fraud show 8,000 reports of ‘phishing‘ scams a month

The TalkTalk Nevers:

  • TalkTalk will NEVER ask customers to provide their full password - we'll only ever ask for two digits in order to protect their security.

  • TalkTalk will NEVER ask for customers’ bank details to process a refund - TalkTalk customers’ bank details will already be registered on our systems.

  • TalkTalk will NEVER ask customers to send money through services such as MoneyGram or Western Union. Scammers do this to prevent transactions from being traced back to them.

  • TalkTalk will NEVER use a customer’s TalkTalk account number to prove a call is genuine.