This week I thought I would take a break from reviews and draw upon my experience as a Banker to write a Fraud Special. I hope to make these a regular feature over the year. For the 1st special I will discuss the concept of ‘Vishing’
What is Vishing?
Criminals make money, tons of money by relieving us of ours. Criminals rely on the fact that for the most part us regular humans have a lazy streak. We like things to be easy. The easier something is and the more routine it is, the less notice we take. A fraudster knows this and exploits our apathy.
With vishing, the criminal will call your mobile or landline pretending to be from an official organisation and start the scam. The objective is to gain your confidence, certain details and ultimately your cash. Fraudsters are becoming increasingly more skilled at doing this.
How do they do it?
The calls typically come from an official source. It could be your bank, a government dept, or utility provider including telecoms, and recently callers claiming to be from Amazon, the list is endless.
If your phone has caller display you may notice that an official phone number is displayed. The fraudsters have the technology to ‘spoof’ any phone number. This tricks your phone into thinking that the call is being made by a certain phone number when in fact its probably an automated call made via a computer.
What should you look out for
The Vishing attempts come in a variety of styles.
When you answer the call you may hear an automated voice. This is designed to grab your attention, and may unsettle you. You may hear a message that tells you your account has been compromised or a suspicious transaction has been spotted. If the call stays connected you are transferred through to a person purporting to be from the organisation and the conversation will be designed to trick you into providing personal details. These may be a simple and as direct as asking your card details, or you may have to provide ‘security’ details that can later be used to conduct identify theft.
These calls are when you answer the phone and instead of an automated message you get a person on the other end. More than likely they are sat in a room somewhere with a device that is randomly generating phone numbers until someone answers. The most common of these types of scam is someone saying you have issues with your computer, your Amazon account is going to be shut down, something to do with your bank account being compromised, or HMRC overdue tax bill.
The other type of Voice Vishing call is more direct and some would say convincing. This is where the fraudster knows a bit of information about you. They call you and use this to convince you into giving more information. For example I had a call from BT customer services to discuss my broadband renewal. I didn’t think anything of it as my contract was about due. The person calling could throw me a few personal details such as my name & phone number. It was only when they started asking me personal security details , such as date of birth that I realised something was up. After all they had called me. After a brief exchange of unpleasant words I hung up slightly annoyed that I hadn’t spotted it earlier.
This sounds horrendous, should I be worried?
No, but you do need to be careful. According to Financial Fraud Action (FFAUK) Vishing costs UK consumers 24 million pounds a year.
What can I do
A few simple steps can help to protect you.
- Remember if its too good to be true, it probably is.
- If a company calls you unexpectedly, hang up. Locate an official number for the company from a document, or reverse of debit card and call them direct.
- Before calling the company back wait 5 minutes or use a different phone. This will ensure the fraudsters are not still listening
- If you are getting a lot of unsolicited calls, invest in a call blocking phone and register for TPS, this may help reduce the calls.
How can I find out more?
Financial Fraud UK has further information
Call blocker phone