As reported by Infosecurity Magazine, a new fraud hotline has been established in the United Kingdom. The hotline, spearheaded by Stop Scams UK, is intended to offer an easy-to-remember three-digit number (159) that can be dialed, much like one would do in an emergency, when they believe they are being targeted for fraud. Should a British resident suspect as much, by dialing 159 they will immediately be connected to their bank’s fraud division, where they can log an incident report. The hotline states that you will never be contacted for any reason by 159.
Stop Scams UK is described by Infosecurity Magazine reporter James Coker as “a coalition of banking and technology companies.” These include major UK banks like NatWest, Barclays, Lloyds, Santander, and Starling Bank. With a large swath of the British population using these financial institutions, Stop Scams UK hopes that the hotline's one-year trial will be effective.
UK residents have been prime targets of scams for years, but Stop Scams UK notes in its mission statement that scams and financial fraud have recently been “increasing at an unprecedented rate.” Stop Scams UK states the following about why they are engaging in these current anti-fraud efforts:
This group realised that there is a need and an opportunity for a new cross-sector approach to helping firms protect customers based on proactive collaboration, and sharing insights and best-practice. The group agreed that a new entity was needed with its own leadership, funded by paying members. Scam journeys are complex, so the entity had to be cross-sector, but sector-neutral; it should be representative of its members across sectors where scams are prevalent; and it should be independent of, but supported by, government and the relevant regulators.
Only time will tell if dialing 159 will change the face of scamming for the better. After the yearlong trial of Stop Scams UK’s hotline, perhaps the data will show a clearer picture of how to stop fraud.
Featured image: Flickr / Wally Gobetz