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Fraudsters cold call using tricks of speech

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Fraudsters cold call using tricks of speech to con their target victims on the telephone, speech pattern analyst Dr. Paul Breen warned. They use apologetic language, or adopt an urgent tone of voice and tempo, to convince people at the other end of the line that they are authentic, research indicates.

The Take Five Campaign, which attempts to make Britons more aware of telephone, email, and other types of scams, asked Dr. Breen to analyze cold calls made by confidence tricksters (con merchants).

Successful fraudsters are extremely clever and devious, Dr. Breen warned – they use an extensive repertoire of techniques to gain other people’s trust.

Fraudsters trying to con peopleNever give personal details over the phone. Your bank would never ask for your PIN number, password etc. on the telephone. If you call your bank after a suspected call from a fraudster, either use another phone or wait at least ten minutes after hanging up. After you hang up, if the fraudster remains on the line, when you pick up the phone again you could be connected to their phone. It takes from three to six minutes for the line to be severed completely after you hang up.

Fraudsters use a script

They have a script, which they learn by heart, and adapt it to the person to whom they are talking. Dr. Green says it is important for people to be able to identify the type of language fraudsters use.

BBC News quoted Dr. Green as saying:

“The process used by fraudsters is carefully scripted from beginning to end – knowing the language fraudsters will use to mimic patterns of trust can help people to avoid becoming a victim.”



Humans tend to be more willing to trust somebody they do not know over the phone if they sound like a very ‘nice person’, Dr. Breen explained.

If a naive person answers the phone and has some concerns, and the caller acknowledges them, expresses sympathy, and sounds apologetic, they are one step closer to achieving their objective – to steal money from the victim with a confidence trick (con).



Fraudsters are patient

Dr. Breen found that fraudsters use little pieces of information about their target victim – they acknowledge concerns about security, remain patient, and gradually reel them in – gaining their trust.

The fraudster does not need to con every single person who answers the phone. If just 1 in 100 people falls for their scam, they can make a lot of money.



Take Five offers the following advice to people:

– Never provide security details, such as your full banking password or PIN number.

– Never assume that a phone call, text, or email is authentic.

– Genuine organisations do not mind waiting – do not let them rush you.

– If something does not feel right, it probably isn’t. Listen to your instincts!

– Remain in control – do not panic and make a decision that you will later regret.

Video – Phone Scam

In this Financial Fraud Action UK video, Carol Vordeman, Donna Air and Rufus Hound are taught how to spot a fraudster attempting a phone scam.