A secure and easy-to-remember phone number has launched to help customers contact your bank to avoid financial scams. This could prove to be the safest way for many to contact your provider if you have suspicions and concerns about your accounts, or even if you are struggling to find a customer services number.
Stop Scams UK and Global Cyber Alliance have launched the UK-wide 159 call service, which is designed to guarantee consumers a safe route to contacting their banks.
The scheme is urging people to "stop, hang up and call 159" to check calls are for real. The idea is to help those who believe they have been contacted by scammers claiming to be their bank, or by fraudsters who encourage them to transfer money.
The banks below are part of the scheme:
Bank of Scotland
Royal Bank of Scotland
You can call 159 if you're a customer of the telecoms firms below:
BT (including EE and Plusnet)
O2 (including Giffgaff)
For those who bank with firms not yet involved in the 159 pilot – you should continue to contact your bank by using the number on the back of your debit or credit card.
When calling 159, you'll be taken through an option menu in which each bank that has signed up to the service is read aloud. Customers are then able to use their telephone keypad to be put through to their bank. You'll then be directed through to your bank's customer service department.
Call 159 if they encounter the following:
• Someone contacts you claiming to be from your bank – even if they do not seem suspicious.
• You are contacted by someone claiming to be an authority figure (such as the police) and told to transfer money – even if the request seems genuine.
• You receive a call about a financial matter and it appears suspicious.