Avoid being scammed by vishing fraudsters


Financial Crime

What would you do if you got a call from your bank telling you that they suspected there had been fraud on your account? Would you panic and worry about your money, or would you immediately be suspicious?

In fact, this could be a common scam known as ‘vishing’, where fraudsters try to trick you into handing over your personal details. You’re not necessarily being scammed – your bank will ring you if they’re unsure about any activity, but they’ll only ask certain questions. If you think your money is at risk, it can be easy to be caught out by these types of scams, so here’s what to look out for.

How it works

Last week, we told you about how fraudsters can trick you with a clever texting scam. Vishing works like this but over the phone, and it’s even easier to get scammed. To get hold of your personal details, the fraudsters will first call you to tell you something is wrong with your account. They’ll either want you to move your money or hand your card over, and they might even offer to send a courier to pick this up.

They’ll usually tell you to put the phone down and call the fraud number for the bank. You might check this on your bank’s website, see that the number is genuine and think that you’re doing the right thing. However, as you were the one to put the phone down, the scammer is still on the other end of the line.

They’ll play a dial tone down the phone so that when you ring, you think you’re through to your bank’s fraud department. In reality, you’re still on to the fraudsters and it’s then easy for them to convince you to tell them your PIN or give them your card.

To combat this, TalkTalk and Sky have reduced their disconnection time to two seconds – meaning when you hang up, the other person will be cut off after this time. BT’s disconnection time is 10 seconds for some customers – but it’s best to wait for five to 10 minutes to be sure that the person on the end of the line is gone.

Can you get compensation?

If you’ve been tricked by a vishing scam, you might not be able to get this money back from your bank. According to a new survey, banks weren’t responsible in nearly two-thirds of vishing cases. This is because the customers had inadvertently given their own money away, so they couldn’t claim it back off their bank.

Don’t think that you definitely won’t be able to get your money back though. Banks have different policies for this and they’ll look at every situation on a case by case basis.

Beat the fraudsters

The best way to make sure you’re not out of pocket is to stay alert and know how these criminals operate. Here are our top tips to avoid vishing scams:

1) Don’t give out information – thinkmoney or your bank will never ask you for your PIN or your online password. You should also be suspicious if you’re asked to transfer money to a different account, or if you’re told that someone is coming to your house to pick up your card.

2) Say you’ll call them back – if you get a call asking for information or telling you about fraudulent activity on your account, tell them you’ll ring them back for security. If it’s your bank, they’ll be happy with this but if it’s a scammer, they’ll probably try to persuade you to stay on the line and get it sorted right away.

3) Get the number off the website – never take the fraudster’s word for it and call back on the number they give you. This will probably be a fake number controlled by them, so go onto your bank’s website and check the number.

4) Call back on a different phone – even if you put the phone down, the fraudster can stay on the line if they called you initially. If they’ve called on your landline, ring back on your mobile or borrow someone else’s phone.

5) Notify your bank: if you think you’ve been targeted, it’s important to let your bank know about the scam. They’ll be able to check if your account has been compromised and add any additional or new security measures if needed.

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