Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK) has released new fraud intelligence highlighting the growth of a phone scam in which fraudsters are targeting individuals to deceive them into revealing personal and financial information - or make payments into the fraudster's account.
FFA UK has seen an overall increase of £36m across remote banking and remote purchase (telephone and online), account takeover, and application fraud in the last financial year.
Early estimates indicate that at least £7m worth may be attributed to the scam, called ‘vishing'.
Vishing involves a fraudster making a phone call to a potential victim, posing as someone from a bank or building society fraud investigation team, the police or another legitimate organisation such as a telephone or internet provider.
They attempt to obtain financial information which often includes credit/debit card details (including PIN), bank account details and personal information such as full name, date of birth or address.
This information is then used by the fraudster to gain access to their victim's finances.
Fraudsters can also deceive the victim into transferring money themselves from their own bank account to one which is accessible to the fraudster.
A variation on this scam involves the victim being persuaded to withdraw money from a branch or ATM to pay the fraudster.
Findings suggest that one in twenty-five adults in the UK may have been a victim of ‘vishing', with 43% of those victims aged over 50-years-old.
Almost a quarter of people in the UK - 23% - have received a cold call requesting personal or financial information, potentially putting them at risk of becoming a victim of vishing.
Four in ten people admitted they found it challenging to tell the difference between a genuine and fraudulent call.
Almost a third of the UK population received at least ten cold calls per month, with 41% suspecting that a call was fraudulent or suspicious.
However, when it came to those aged over 50, this group were shown to be particularly at risk, with almost half - 47% - having received a fraudulent or suspicious cold call.
DCI Dave Carter head up the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit, a pro-active police unit that is fully sponsored by the cards and banking industries.
He said:"Fraudsters can use personal information gleaned from vishing in a number of ways including to access a victim's bank account, make fraudulent purchases and commit identity theft.
"Always be wary of cold callers who suggest you hang up the phone and call them back. Fraudsters will keep your phone line open by not putting down the receiver at their end.
"Remember that it takes two people to terminate a call so try and use a different phone line if you are asked to ring back. If you think you've already been a victim of this scam, contact your bank or card company immediately."
How to take steps to avoid this type of scam:
Be wary of:
- Unsolicited approaches by phone.
- Cold callers who suggest you hang up the phone and call them back. Fraudsters can keep your phone line open by not putting down the receiver at their end.
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