Vishing Fraud understand the risks

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 good!

What 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 fraud.

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 this included:

  • 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 compensation.

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.   

Use a Vishing Net   

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 phone.

    Be on your guard and under no circumstances agree to do any of these actions:

  • Transfer money to a different account
  • 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.

We’re the fraud specialists here at Focus Training and we’d encourage everyone to obtain new skills and knowledge to effectively combat vishing scams. 

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