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STOP SCAMS UK 159 Short Code Number Generates 75,000 Calls

Mobile UK

3 min read Partner content
  • 75,000 callshave been made to 159 since it launched at the end of September 2021.
  • 159 has now been upgraded to enable a major expansion of the service so it can accommodate an even larger number of the UK’s banks. The Co-operative Bank, the Nationwide Building Society and TSB have all now joined 159.
  • 159 is a collaboration between telecoms providers and banks that connects customers safely and securely to their bank, providing potential scam victims with a route back to safety if they receive an unexpected call on a financial matter.

Over 75,000 calls have now been made to 159 since it launched at the end of September last year.

159 enables current account customers to connect with their bank safely and securely when they receive an unexpected, suspicious or fraudulent call. As an easily memorable short-code number, it provides customers with a vital route back to safety when they are at most risk of being manipulated and scammed.

Since its launch the service has been upgraded to include more UK banks, including the Co-operative Bank, the Nationwide Building Society and TSB.

How to use 159?

If you receive an unexpected or suspicious call about a financial matter from someone who claims to be from your bank, the police or any other authority figure: Stop, hang up and then call 159.

Scams cause significant harm and loss to both individuals and businesses. In the first six months of 2021 alone, reported Authorised Push Payment (APP) fraud—where victims are manipulated by criminals into making real-time payments— were 60% above the equivalent level for 2020 with the losses incurred by consumers and businesses 71% higher.

To put this in cash terms, criminal gangs stole over £355m in the first six months of 2021 from individuals and small businesses by pretending to be either a bank or other service provider, and encouraging them to make a payment or transfer money. 159 is an important tool in helping prevent this harm.

Stop Scams UK launched 159 as a pilot. In the coming months Stop Scams UK will invest further in 159, including a new Intelligent Voice Response (IVR) system to route calls, and help better understand scam journeys. This will enable the service not only to serve a wider number of banking destinations, including existing, new and future members, but will help keep even more people stay safe. If the pilot is successful, Stop Scams UK will ask Ofcom to make 159 a universal number offered by all telephone providers, similar to 101, 111 or 999.

Ruth Evans, Chair of Stop Scams UK, said:

“I am delighted to see 159 reach this important milestone. This is a watershed moment for the project. Not only is 159 being used by growing numbers of people but it now serves an even larger number of banks. It is great news that the Co-operative Bank, the Nationwide Building Society and TSB are joining 159. It demonstrates that when responsible businesses work together, they can make a real difference.

I am pleased that every call to 159, is a call that is not been had with a scammer. No bank will mind if you hang up the phone and use 159 instead. It is a vital means of helping keep UK consumers.”

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Engineering a Better World

The Engineering a Better World podcast series from The House magazine and the IET is back for series two! New host Jonn Elledge discusses with parliamentarians and industry experts how technology and engineering can provide policy solutions to our changing world.

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