Wednesday, 28 August 2013

When it is NOT so good to talk -the latest telephone scam

The latest scam to hit the headlines is that of “vishing”, where a caller will try, over the telephone, to get information out of consumers by pretending to be from a legitimate organisation such as a bank or building society. Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK) estimate that around £7 million has been lost to vishing alone, out of the £36 million increase they attribute to crimes involving online banking and online and telephone purchases. The difficulty is in working out what is legitimate and what is not. The fraudster on the telephone attempts to get information out of you regarding your account details, card information, pin number as well as date of birth, full name and so on. This information is then used to ransack your account or to carry out identity fraud.

The Invisible Sham

Many of us are much more aware now of what we throw away in our rubbish bins or recycle as this can be used to “steal” someone’s identity. There are stickers you can get from the neighbourhood watch team or police to put on the front door warning off any cold callers. Burglar alarms, window locks, bolts and gates may serve to protect our physical property but the increasing problem is the thief you cannot see.

Our laptops and PC's have got a range of firewalls and virus checkers but we still can get spam emails or spoof emails warning us of a virus. How many of us have been emailed from a frantic but very generous individual from outside the UK needing our help and our bank account details to rescue their family from certain destruction? I personally seemed to have won the Euro Millions at least three times which is a miracle, considering I have never played the lotto let alone signed up on line to do so. Obviously to receive my winnings they need to pay this straight into my bank account so if I could just let them have the details... 

Deal or No Deal?

 Now they are on the telephone posing as a legitimate finance organisation or even a telephone or internet provider. And the trouble is, they are very good at it, which makes it hard to spot as a scam. According to a Which Report on 27 August 2013, four out of 10 people they spoke with found it really hard to spot the fraudster when tasked with a genuine call and a fake call. Many of us carry out banking online, have contact with our internet and telephone providers so we do expect to get a call from them from time to time. The advice from FFA UK is that a genuine telephone caller from a bank never asks a customer for their 4 digit pin number and certainly will never ask for money to be transferred from one account to another. They also say that if in doubt just put the telephone down.

So some definite food for thought and yet another scam to be aware of, and if you do think you have had a fake call then log onto the FFA UK website for further help. It’s either that or avoiding the telephone which is not really an option unless of course you’ve always had a hankering to keep carrier pigeons.


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