National Insurance Number Scams – What to look out for

Another day another scam that every adult in the UK should be wary of falling for. This one relates to the unique National Insurance (NI) number everyone over 16 is sent to help them navigate their way through the tax and benefits system – whether that is HMRC or the Department for Work and Pensions.

Action Fraud has reported a surge in complaints that follow the same well-trodden path as scams relating to the driving licence, the COVID-19 vaccine, the Royal Mail and your tax status with HMRC. This one relates to your NI number and has led them to receive 34,000 more calls in February this year than in February 2020.

Protect your friends by sharing this article with them:

The NI scam works like this:

  1. An automated message reports “Your National Insurance number has been compromised. Press 1 to be connected with an operator who will create a new NI number for you”
  2. A conversation with a scammer takes place where pressure tactics coax victims to reveal personal details to ‘confirm their identity’. (These details are then used to run other frauds, steal your identity or access your online accounts).

 

Pauline Smith, Head of Action Fraud, said:

“We are asking the public to remain vigilant and be cautious of any automated calls they receive mentioning their National Insurance number becoming compromised.  It is important to remember if you are contacted out the blue by someone asking for your personal or financial details, this could be a scam.  Even confirming personal details, such as your email address, date of birth or mother’s maiden name, can be used by criminals to commit fraud. If you have any doubts about what is being asked of you, hang up the phone. No legitimate organisation will rush or pressure you.”

Common theme of identity scams

We hope that familiarity with these themes, and our regular reporting on them, will create a kind of ‘reluctant but inevitable’ herd immunity within the UK population. The pattern is so common that it is now achingly predictable and worryingly repeatable.

It typically works like this:

  • Scammers make contact by phone, text and email with their targets
  • They pretend to be from a government agency (or instantly recognisable big brand)
  • They use vague but subtle wording to induce anxiety (‘you must do this or bad things will happen…’)
  • They direct you to a human operator/scammer or fake website
  • They try to capture payments (that is the jackpot for them straightaway) or personal data (email address, password, PIN number, birthday….) that they can sell or re-use in another fraud
  • They do it all as fast as possible and try and hurry you into handing over money or data that you will later come to regret

 

What to remember if it happens to you

1 – THINK

Take a moment to ask yourself:  “I’ve read about a lot of scams like this at the moment.  Is this a scam?  Have I ever had a call like this before?  Would they really call me to tell me this?  Would it be a problem if I just asked them to put it in writing and hung up the phone?”

 

2 – QUESTION

If asked, do not ‘Press 1’.  You could incur a hefty ‘phone bill as experienced by one of our longstanding members.  If you do ‘Press 1’ you will be asked for personal information.  Do some research online or ask a friend for their opinion afterwards: it’s often comforting to read that this is a scam and others have shared their experiences and warnings.

 

3 – ACT

If you have handed over details and regretted it, work out where you use those details and get in touch with the companies who hold them.  It might make sense to check your online accounts to make sure everything is as you would expect and update your password for any accounts you are super keen to protect.

You can also add your experience to those that have been already collected by Action Fraud and please do share details of the incident with fellow IPS members below.

Have your say

As an IPS member, you can leave us your thoughts, comments and experiences in the commments section below

2 Responses

  1. milford2012 says:

    My wife received a phone call on her mobile from +442039913481 which she didn’t answer then she received a SMS and voicemail from it saying this is the final attempt to contact you and you will be recalled to a court case and you will lose your National Insurance number so call us on this number +442039913481 and they would gladly talk her through it and help her, of course we did not call it and i always look online for scams which put our minds at rest and the number got blocked on our mobile phones and the landline….

  2. Ann says:

    Have other members had problems with the BT technical department scam?

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.