Phone scammers will call you and typically pretend to be from an organisation you trust, such as your bank or the police.
These scam calls may be automated, or from a real person. They may ask you for your personal information like bank details, or tell you you need to transfer money.
Signs of a scam call
Some tell-tale sounds to look out for include:
- The caller sounds urgent or threatening.
- They ask for remote access to your computer.
- They ask you for personal details, passwords or bank details or claim your bank account is at risk if you don't give them the information they need right away.
What to do If I get a scam call
Anyone can be targeted by scammers, so it's important to be aware of phone scams and how to handle them. A few things you can do to help protect yourself:
- Personal and bank details - Never give out personal or financial information (such as your bank account details or your bank card PIN codes) over the phone, even if the caller claims to be from your bank.
If you're unsure whether the caller is genuine, you can always hang up and ring the company or bank they claim to be from. Make sure you find the number yourself and don’t use the one provided by the caller.
- Hang up the call - If you feel harassed, pressured, intimidated, or if the caller isn’t giving you a chance to speak, end the call. It may feel rude to hang up on the caller but you have a right not to be pressured into anything.
- Ring the organisation yourself. Stay calm and don't be rushed to make a decision. Scammers often try to rush you into providing your personal details. They may say they have time-limited offers or claim your bank account is at risk if you don't give them the information they need right away.
- If they claim to be from Shell, report the call to us
How can I avoid phone scams and cold calls?
You can block or prevent some cold calls. Try these simple things:
- Register with the Telephone Preference Service – it's free and it allows you to opt out of any unsolicited live telesales calls. This should reduce the number of cold calls you receive but may not block scammers. Register your number with TPS here.
- Talk to your phone provider to see what other privacy services and call-blocking services are available. Read our article on how to block unwanted calls.
- If you have a smartphone, you can use the settings on the phone to block unwanted numbers. If you’re not sure how to do this, you could visit your local mobile phone shop for assistance.
- There are products to block some calls. Some local councils provide call blockers through their trading standards teams.
Getting calls from Shell Energy
If you ever get a call from Shell Energy or Shell Energy Broadband, we will never do the following:
- Use your account number to prove a call is genuine.
- Ask for your bank details to process a refund - if you're a Shell Energy Broadband customer, your bank details are already registered on our systems.
- Ask you to send us money through services such as Moneygram or the Western Union. Scammers do this to prevent transactions from being traced back to them.
If you are not sure a call claiming to be from Shell Energy Broadband is genuine, please hang up and call us back (You’ll find our number on the top of your most recent bill).
What should I do if I’ve been a victim of a phone scam?
Scammers constantly find new ways to trick people and scams are changing all the time. If you’ve been the victim of a scam don’t be embarrassed to report it. It can happen to anyone.
Report the scam to the police and also contact Action Fraud. Action Fraud is the reporting centre for fraud and cyber-crime in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and the information you give them can help track down the scammer.
Further resource for information on scam, nuisance or unwanted calls
You may find the following links useful for more information on how to protect yourself from scam calls.