If you’re contacted by someone claiming to be from your bank, stop, hang up and dial 159: the new hotline designed to fight fraud. Calling 159 is a practical step you can take to challenge scammers and protect yourself.
The 159 hotline is part of a pilot scheme set up by Stop Scams UK and the Global Cyber Alliance. It includes multiple British banks, including Starling, as well as most telecoms firms and technology companies. The scheme will run for at least a year and if successful, 159 could become a universal number, similar to 111 for the NHS or 999 for emergency services.
When should I call 159?
Here are some scenarios in which you should call 159:
- If someone contacts you claiming to be from your bank, even if they don’t sound suspicious, hang up and call 159 to check if your bank really did need to contact you.
- If someone contacts you claiming to be an authority figure, for example the police, and asks you to transfer money, even if it seems genuine. Don’t transfer any money or provide any bank details - hang up and call 159.
- If you feel uneasy or suspicious about a call you’ve received from someone asking for financial details or pressuring you into making a payment, it’s not rude to hang up. It’s a reasonable and sensible thing to do. Call 159.
What happens when I call 159?
When you call 159, you will be directly connected to your bank. If you’re a Starling customer, this means you’ll be put in touch with a member of Team Starling, who will be able to check whether the call you received really was from someone at Starling. If for any reason, 159 doesn’t work as it should, you can call Starling Customer Services directly using the number on the back of your card.
Remember that if Starling does call you (for example if you've requested a callback), we will never ask you to share your PIN, password or ask you to authorise a payment from your account to a new ‘safe account’.
What if I think I've already been scammed?
If you think you have already been the victim of fraud, you should get in touch with our customer service team as soon as possible. You should also report your suspicion to the police.
Will 159 ever call me?
No, you will never receive a call from 159. If you do, don't answer or hang up immediately. If you’ve received a call from 159 on your landline, don’t use the same landline to dial 159 and report this scam (the criminals could keep the line open). Instead, use a mobile or different device to call 159.
Some fraudsters can match the number that comes up on your phone with your bank's number or the 159 number, a technique known as number spoofing, so it's always best to dial the number yourself if you're worried that a call you've received isn't genuine.