PPI cold callers and many others have been using automated systems for years that call and ask you questions then get you to press a button to be connected to an agent.
Automated systems are a lot cheaper than staff so for the criminals engaged in large scale scamming, this can be the most efficient way. However, recently, other criminals have started using these automated calling systems.
e.g. Automated Action Fraud Computer Support Scam Calls
The victims receives a cold call from a fraudsters claiming to be from Action Fraud.
On answering the call, an automated voice asks the responder to “press 1 if you have made a report to Action Fraud.”
When the responder presses 1, they are transferred to a fraudster.
The victim is told that their computers has been hacked and money stolen from their online banking accounts. More questions lead to the scammer asking to take control of the computer and then stealing any confidential information they can and possibly installing malware or a key logger.
e.g. Automated HMRC Calls and Texts
Calls and text telling the victim that they are being investigated by HMRC and they must contact the phone number in the message for further details and to make payment.
HMRC do not make such threatening calls and texts.
e.g. Automated Talk Talk Scam Calls
Calls that warn of phone line or broadband termination. “Press 1 to be connected to an agent” etc.
Then a similar pattern of questions to above and theft of confidential information or money.
What Can You Do?
Do not trust these callers unless you can verify they are genuine. This usually means you call them back on a number you know is valid (and beware the scammer leaving the line open when you put the phone down and then pretending to be the number you called).
The scammer may have some details about you – name, address and more. But do not be taken in by this as it is likely the scammer bought this information from someone who hacked company data.
If you have any experiences with such callers, do let me know, by email.