Most Internet users are probably accustomed to the term phishing -- where fraudsters send unsolicited emails to entice unsuspecting victims to pass over their banking details -- but chances are they're unaware of the term: vishing. So, what is vishing? its a similar behaviour to phishing, but instead of using emails, the fraudsters phone up their victims. With banks and credit card companies regularly phoning their customers to verify payments and warn customers about potential fraudulent use of their account, fraudsters can appear entirely plausible when they phone a customer and purport to an official from a bank or building society (typically their security or fraud squad). M&S bank has also warned that fraudsters sometimes claim to be the police or another trusted source, such as the local council.
The story given by the fraudster will, of course, vary, but the premise will be similar: that a problem has occurred that urgently requires the bank customer to hand over financial information (such as card details, login information, and pin numbers), or requires the customer to make a payment from their account to the fraudsters account for 'safekeeping' -- to solve the 'problem' the fraudster has invented. In reality, there is no problem, and if a customer does transfer funds from their account to the fraudsters account -- to solve the 'problem' -- then the bank may not provide compensation to their customer because the customer has authorised the payment. In May 2018, the BBC reported on a vishing scam that netted £1.2m in the north east of Scotland, and quoted Det Insp McPhail who said "Let me be clear that banks will never make phone calls like this asking you to move money".
Techniques that fraudsters use, and should be watched out for:
How to combat vishing:
In conclusion, bank customers should not underestimate how sophisticated fraudsters can be when using a vishing scam. It is not only the elderly who have been tricked by such schemes, businesses, law firms, charities and sports clubs have also been targeted and become a victim. Whenever a customer is contacted by a bank, or someone purporting to be from a bank, they need to automatically be suspicious, and consider seriously whether this is a scam or not. Whenever there is doubt end the phone call.