Avoiding Scams

Was watching the news this morning and Martin Lewis was on.
He said if you receive an SMS asking for you to phone the bank and it’s illegitimate, it’s not a good idea to find the the genuine number and phone it as the scammers could redirect the phone call to them. Is this true ?
He said it’s best to phone up a friend/family and make sure the call goes through to them and not the scammer first?

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Eh, what? If you phone the genuine number from a mobile I don’t see any potential problem

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This is purely a placebo, to dot the i’s and cross the t’s

Thats what I thought. But Martin Lewis clearly said not to do that. Maybe he meant if you phone them, hang up, then re dial another number they could be listening

It’s possible for scammers to hold the line open when you ‘hang up’, meaning that when you call back to get the bank it’s actually the scammers still on the line.

It sounds like rather than trying to explain entirely what is happening, Lewis is just making it as simple as possible to avoid it happening.

You could also get around it by calling from a different phone, but I think what Lewis is doing here is avoiding the assumption that everyone has more than one phone they can use. He’s also indirectly advising the potential victim to get some help from a friend/family, meaning that you have someone there to calm you down and stop you falling into a trap through being stressed or pressurised.


But if you are phoning the genuine number then the scammers won’t be involved

Sounds like you’ve misheard slightly and jumbled things up a bit.

Yes this is what he said

He said this too.

Right, I found this

Martin explained that if you receive a call from someone telling you that it’s your bank and they are calling to discuss an “urgent” or “pressing” matter, the best thing to do is “put the phone down straight away”.

The journalist continued: “You put the phone down, you go find the number yourself, and this is the important bit - you call them back on a different phone.

“Call them back on your mobile if they called your landline, and your landline if they called your mobile.”

Martin advised viewers to wait an hour or two and to try calling a friend first.

He explained: “Even if you put the phone down and dial the new number, they could be holding on that line for you to pick it up and fake a dial tone.

So it sounds like you’ve got his advice or phone calls mixed up with sms


Ah yes, thanks for the clarification :slight_smile:

I don’t think this is at all justified in this day and age. In the early 2010s BT used to have a call clearing time of a couple of minutes, but that was reduced in 2014 to 10 seconds and again in 2015 to 2 seconds.

I’d be shocked if any operator in the UK had a clearing time of more than a second or two.


I have heard this many times on BBC shows as well. It is a genuine problem and some police forces have produced videos warning people about it.

Unfortunately it happens still. In my job I take a lot of calls - several daily - from people who have hung up and called a number (usually the police) only to still be talking to the scammers.


If the advice said “wait 10 seconds” then people won’t think a few seconds matters and will make the call right away.

If the advice is hours, you’re more likely to wait and it also gives you a chance to destress and think about the situation.


Very often people expect some kind of instant action. Instant payment, instant response from the server, although in fact very often it takes some time to process a signal or command - this is normal.

I’m confused :neutral_face:

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This is normal

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I think my brain is just taking some time to process the signal or command in the comment above

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You made the mistake of expecting some kind of instant action


Sure saying wait 10 seconds can lead to people taking shortcuts and being under 2 seconds (if it’s even that any more… it was originally so you could put the handset down and pick up on another phone in the house, but with mobile/cordless that’s unnecessary).

But hours? Just say 10 minutes, otherwise you’re just prolonging the anxiety of someone who may believe the bank/police/HMRC are accusing them of something.

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This is only an issue with landlines right? On a mobile when you end a call the line is dead isn’t it?