Over the summer the Financial Ombudsman Service sent out a
stark warning to families with vulnerable relatives with the sole purpose of
raising awareness of what is known as Vishing Fraud. They asked friends and
families, good neighbours, and anyone that knows and cares for the elderly or
more vulnerable members of society to watch out for and speak to people that
could become victims of fraud.
Worryingly, in a report they published, the research they
conducted clearly indicated that people over the age of 55 were more likely to
become the victims of vishing scams. To make matters worse, in the vast
majority of cases most of the victims of the crime were totally powerless to do
anything about it and once they had been defrauded of money, it was gone for
exactly is Vishing?
Instances of vishing occur when fraudsters contact victims
over the phone and try to obtain personal information. They normally make the
phone conversation sound as believable as possible, with the sole intention of
retrieving private and personal details that could be used to commit acts of
In many instances they adopt a fake identity claiming to be
representing a reputable source such as a bank or professional organisation.
Criminals normally pose as officials, they might adopt the persona of police
officers, or they might say they are from a company and attempt to obtain bank
account details or other sensitive financial information, whilst sounding as
plausible as possible.
The facts speak for themselves. Research data obtained from
the Financial Ombudsman Service show that 80% of people who fell victim to
these schemes we over the age of 55.
Other, rather revealing information also came to light and
- 20% of people lost between
£20,000 and £49,999
- 38% of people lost on
average between £5,000 and £14,999
- In a minor number of cases
the figures were higher, exceeding £100,000
- In total, losses of over
£4 million were reported to officials
Sadly, in a high percentage of these cases the victims were
unable to do anything about their situation. People were left angry, confused
and felt let down by the system, as criminals made off with their savings
through clever phone scams.
A lucky few had their cases upheld by The Financial
Ombudsman, and around four in ten complainants received some type of financial
Unfortunately, this was scant comfort for the thousands of
people that had already been defrauded out of their money and had no real
chance of getting it back. For them, it was a costly mistake to make.
Is there anything you can do to prevent this from happening
in the future?
Simple but effective security tactics are all it takes to
prevent you from becoming the victim of a vishing attack. Phone crimes might be
rising but with greater awareness about the problems associated with scam
calls, the nation can set up a vishing net.
Be aware of the risks and educate relatives or members of
society that could be vulnerable to this type of attack. In particular, be
extra careful when taking telephone calls, especially if they are from a withheld
caller or a number you don’t recognise.
Some of these tactics should help:
Be wary of withheld numbers
Use caller ID
Don’t take things on face value
Never reveal bank details over the phone
Tell them you’ll call back and use official
contact numbers for safety
If a bank needs to contact you about your account they will
use the appropriate channels and take adequate security measures, under no
circumstances will they force you into providing sensitive details over the
Be on your guard and under no circumstances agree to do any
of these actions:
- Transfer money to a
- Provide your pin details
over the phone
- Carry out ‘security’ tests
over the phone or online
- Use a new banking app as
directed by the caller
One of the biggest battles against fraud is recognising the
warning signs straight away. The chances are if somebody cold calls you at home
claiming to be a bank official and they ask you for any details that make you
feel uncomfortable, there’s a good chance this is a hoax.
the fraud specialists here at Focus Training and we’d encourage everyone to
obtain new skills and knowledge to effectively combat vishing scams.