O2 is warning customers of specific actions it will “never” take to help them be more aware of whether they’re being scammed.
New research by the provider shows nearly a quarter (23 percent) of Britons have reported falling for a scam, and more than two in five (41 percent) know someone else who has.
Among those who have fallen for a scam, 68 percent have lost money as a result, with the average loss being £393.
Rob Orr, chief operations officer at Virgin Media O2 said: “Fraud is now a national epidemic and, with thousands of people falling victim every single day, we are committed to doing all we can to help the UK swerve the scammers.”
According to O2, five things it will “never” do include:
1. Ask people to read out their one-time passcode or bank details over the phone. If anyone calls asking for a code that’s been sent to secure a “great deal”, O2 advises customers to hang up as “it’s a scam”.
2. Tell people to ignore security warnings. Security warnings are there for a reason and genuine O2 employees will never ask a person to disregard them.
3. Get angry if a person wants to hang up and call O2 back. If a person has any suspicion that they might be speaking to a scammer, the best thing to do is hang up and call O2 back by dialling 202 from their O2 phone.
4. Pressure a person into making a quick decision. Scammers will try to get people to act before they’ve had a chance to think about what’s going on, so if a person hears things like ‘this is a limited one-time offer’ or ‘give me an answer right now’, O2 says hang up.
5. Ask a person to pay to return a device to O2. According to the provider, fraudsters often try to convince victims they’ve been sent the ‘wrong device’ and trick them into sending it back. O2 provides pre-paid labels for device returns and only ever to the official O2 returns address, which is O2 Returns Centre, Communication House, Vulcan Road North, Norwich, NR66AQ. O2 said: “If you’re asked to pay for return shipping, it’s a scam.”
For those who think they’ve fallen victim to fraud – whether that’s because they’ve given details to someone over the phone, or clicked on a link in a suspicious text or email – there are things people can do.
Firstly, people can forward fraudulent texts to O2 for free on 7726 and the provider will look into them.
Virgin Media O2 recently teamed up with actor and documentary maker, Ross Kemp, to launch Crafty Lager 7726 – a new limited-edition fraud-fighting beer created to get the nation talking about scams and raise awareness of the phone number.
The Crafty Lager 7726 label reminds consumers never to share one-time passcodes over the phone, which 44 percent of people didn’t know. There is also advice on how to report dodgy calls and texts by forwarding them to 7726 – which spells ‘SPAM’ on an alphanumeric phone keypad – on any network.
Virgin Media O2 also partnered with Proper Pubs, the community wet-led operator division of Admiral Taverns and Off Broadway in London’s Hackney to make Crafty Lager 7726 available for free for a limited time only in selected pubs across the UK.
Members of the public can simply order a ‘7726’ at the bar of the participating pub to get two free beers or a non-alcoholic option for them and a friend. The offer is limited to two drinks per pair at participating pubs only, from November 15 to November 30, while stocks last.
The pubs participating include:
- Brown Cow, 10 Halewood Road, Liverpool, L25 3PG
- Boars Head, Willow Street, Oswestry, SY11 1AF
- Miners Arms, High Street, Eston, Middlesbrough, TS6 9JD
- Gardeners Arms, Wellingborough Road, Northampton, NN1 4EB
- Titwood, 52-58 Nithsdale Road, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, G41 2AN
- Off Broadway, 63-65 Broadway Market, London E8 4PH (not an Admiral Tavern pub).
Mr Orr said: “Awareness of common scams and tactics can help consumers fight the phoneys, so we are arming Brits with the tips and tools they need to protect themselves. That’s why we’re proud to launch Crafty Lager 7726, which puts top tips on staying safe into consumers’ hands, kickstarting a national conversation.”
“We can all help by reporting dodgy messages and calls to 7726. By taking just a few seconds to forward them on, we can investigate and shut down frauds faster and further improve our blocking technology to stop future scams in their tracks.”
Alongside the launch of Crafty Lager 7726, Virgin Media O2 has pulled together three simple steps on what to do when called by a scammer or upon receiving a suspicious message.
O2 said: “Stop. If you receive a call out of the blue from someone claiming to be from O2, think about what you’re being asked to do. Does it feel right? Are you being asked for personal data or a code over the phone? If you have any suspicion that you might be speaking to a scammer, the best thing to do is hang up and call us back by dialling 202 from your O2 phone.
“Send to 7726. Worked out you might have spoken to or received a text from a scammer? Don’t just ignore it, take a few seconds to forward on to 7726 so O2 can block the number and shut down similar scams faster in future.”
Finally, the provider urged people to let their friends and family know about the scam. It said: “By telling others, you can help keep them safe and ensure they’re never caught off guard.”
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