In a new pilot scheme to combat the surge in financial crimes consumers can now phone 159 to be connected to their bank and receive advice.

The hotline will work similarly to non-emergency police (101) or NHS (111) inquiries.

Anyone who receives contact from someone asking for money to be transferred or any other financial matter are urged to hang up immediately and dial 159. Consumers will be connected to their bank’s fraud prevention service to assist them.

Sponsored by Stop Scams UK, the hotline will run as a 1-year pilot and if successful will be made into a universal service. 

Currently, Lloyds, Barclays, NatWest, Santander and Starling Bank are involved in the scheme. TSB will join in January, and there are hopes that other banks will join over the course of the pilot. 

The number is accessible on more than 80% of UK mobiles and landlines, including those from BT, EE, Plusnet, Gamma, O2, giffgaff, TalkTalk, Three, Sky and Virgin Media. Calls will cost the same as the national call rate and will be covered by most phone tariffs.

Stop Scams UK hopes the hotline will reduce the toll of authorised push payment (APP) fraud, also called bank transfer scams.

Ruth Evans, chair of the coalition, Stop Scams, said: “Criminals rely on forcing people into heat-of-the-moment decisions, and calling 159 is a simple, practical tool to break their spell.”