minister warned on Friday of a “massive sudden increase” in fraudsters targeting people with phishing scams in calls and texts to mobile phones.

Health minister Lord Bethell stressed they included calls purporting to come from “BT”.

Other people have also experienced criminals calling on landlines pretending to be banks and sending emails and texts bogusly claiming to be from package delivery companies.

In response to one person tweeting if anyone was experiencing “off-the-scale levels” of mobile phone spam/phishing, both calls and texts, Lord Bethell messaged back: “Massive sudden increase. And those calls from “BT” who want me to download safety software urgently.”

The National Cyber Security Centre has guidance on “dealing with suspicious emails, phone calls and text messages” here.

On spotting a scam, it advises to look for:

* Authority – Is the message claiming to be from someone official? For example, your bank, doctor, a solicitor, or a government department. Criminals often pretend to be important people or organisations to trick you into doing what they want.

* Urgency – Are you told you have a limited time to respond (such as ‘within 24 hours’ or ‘immediately’)? Criminals often threaten you with fines or other negative consequences.

* Emotion – Does the message make you panic, fearful, hopeful or curious? Criminals often use threatening language, make false claims of support, or tease you into wanting to find out more.

* Scarcity – Is the message offering something in short supply, like concert tickets, money or a cure for medical conditions? Fear of missing out on a good deal or opportunity can make you respond quickly.

* Current events – Are you expecting to see a message like this? Criminals often exploit current news stories, big events or specific times of year (like tax reporting) to make their scam seem more relevant to you.

The cyber experts also explain: “Criminals want to convince you to do something which they can use to their advantage.

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