Saying no confidently to scammers

Guinness Care News Article - 29 September 2020
Saying no confidently to scammers

We know it’s not always easy to ‘just say no’ when it comes to scam criminals. They are clever, appear to be friendly, and can make you feel sorry for them. This is particularly common in doorstep and telephone scams, where they can manipulate you into helping them.

Following our work with Friends against Scams, we have developed some tips on ‘saying no confidently’ to scam criminals:

Take control:

A scam criminal works by pressuring you into a high-risk decision. Take control of the situation and bring the conversation to a close on your terms -- and don’t be afraid to use some artistic license with your responses

  • “Sorry, I’ve got someone at the door, I’m going to have to go”
  • “Thanks for that information, but I’m going to have to think about it – I’ll contact you when I’m ready”
  • “I don’t own the property, so I can’t make any decisions”
  • “Sorry I can’t help you, my daughter looks after my finances”

Remember, if they give you a telephone number, don’t call it as it could cost you a lot of money. If they’re claiming to be from a well-known company, visit that company’s official website and use the contact details listed there instead.

Showing you’re scam aware:

Ultimately, a scammer wants either your personal information, or your money. By ending the conversation more abruptly you can show that you’re aware of this and this will deter them from bothering you again. Here are a few suggestions on ways to respond:

  • “I’m not interested, please take me off your list”
  • “I’m not in a financial position to give you any money, so I can’t help you”
  • “I’m not comfortable that this is genuine, I’m going to have to decline”

Don’t forget, it’s OK to hang up the phone, or ask someone who’s on your doorstep for proof of ID. If they are genuine, they will understand – you won’t be the first person to have asked them for it!

Tools to help you:

If you’re experiencing a high volume of telephone scams or nuisance calls and you are a BT customer, you can install BT Call Protect which monitors phone calls and sends unwanted calls to a junk voicemail. If you’re not a BT customer, it’s possible to buy a Call Blocking Unit which only allows calls through which you approve in advance.

You could also agree with a family member or friend that if you receive potential scam mail or emails that you’re unsure about, that you show them before engaging with it – a second pair of eyes is always better than one!

Click here to find out more about our partnership with Friends Against Scams.