According to Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK), the losses through vishing (telephone fraud) “had got out of hand” by costing consumers three times as much as last year. FFA UK has started a vishing awareness campaign to communicate that the neither the police nor banks would ever ring them to transfer funds to a new saving account.
Targeting the vulnerable
Fraudsters seem to be targeting older people who are more vulnerable to this highly sophisticated type of scam. They might start building trust by telling the customer they have become a victim of credit card fraud, asking for personal finance information so they can gain access to the account.
Another tactic they use lets the victim believe they are transferring all of their money to an online account set up in their name – or even physically withdrawing their money from the bank and giving to a courier.
FFA UK reported that as least £23.9m of losses are a result of vishing compared with £7m the year previous. Some victims have lost up to £100,000.
The head of the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit, DCI Perry Stokes said: “Always be on your guard if you receive a cold call and are asked for personal or financial information, or to hand over your card or cash to someone.”
He follows on to say that the bank or the police will never contact you asking to move your money, so it can only be a criminal on the other end of the phone. He suggests to wait five minutes then call the police, preferably from a different telephone.
The warning signs
You should be wary of the following:
- Unsolicited phone calls saying your card has been stolen and used fraudulently.
- Cold callers who want you to put the phone down then call them back. Subsequently, they can keep the phone line open by not hanging the phone up their end.
- Fraudsters who ask you to transfer your money to a new account, even it is in your name.
- People who send you home to collect your money, payment cards, cheque book or PIN numbers saying you are a victim of fraud.
The Home Office minister for organised crime, Karen Bradley said: “An important part of preventing these crimes is for trusted institutions like banks and the police raising awareness of the warning signs, as well as reminding the public how to react if they get a suspicious call.”