Published On: Mon, May 27th, 2024

Scams surge as over-the-phone ‘vishing’ targets your money – how to spot frauds | Personal Finance | Finance

Scams surge as over-the-phone ‘vishing’ targets your money – how to spot frauds | Personal Finance | Finance
Scams surge as over-the-phone ‘vishing’ targets your money – how to spot frauds | Personal Finance | Finance

Britons have been warned about rising cases of ‘vishing’ where fraudsters trick victims into handling over personal and financial information.

Vishing is a type of social engineering attack where criminals use phone calls to impersonate legitimate entities including banks, government agencies, such as HMRC, or even tech support.

The goal is to manipulate the victim into providing sensitive information like credit card numbers, bank account details, passwords, or personal identification numbers (PINs).

Finance expert Gary Hemming from ABC Finance has seen firsthand the devastating impact vishing can have on individuals and businesses alike.

He said: “Understanding what vishing entails, recognising its signs, and knowing how to protect yourself are crucial steps in safeguarding your financial well-being.”

Mr Hemming continued: “Vishing is a serious threat in today’s interconnected world, but by staying vigilant and informed, you can protect yourself and your finances from falling into the wrong hands.

“Always remember to verify unsolicited calls, avoid sharing sensitive information over the phone, and report any suspicious activity.”

Mr Hemming has identified how Britons can spot and protect themselves from a vishing attack.

Common tactics of vishing

Spoofing Caller ID: Fraudsters can manipulate caller ID to display the name and number of a trusted organisation, making it appear as if the call is coming from a legitimate source.

Creating Urgency: Scammers often create a sense of urgency or fear to prompt immediate action. For instance, they might claim that your bank account has been compromised and you need to provide information immediately to secure it.

Posing as Authorities: They might pretend to be from your bank, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), or even law enforcement, leveraging the perceived authority to intimidate victims into compliance.

Tech Support: Vishers may call pretending to be from tech support, claiming there’s an issue with your computer or account that needs immediate attention.

Friendly Approach: Some fraudsters adopt a friendly demeanour, engaging in casual conversation to build trust before subtly requesting sensitive information.

Warning signs of vishing

Unsolicited Calls: Be wary of unexpected calls, especially those asking for personal or financial information.

Requests for Sensitive Information: Legitimate organisations rarely ask for sensitive information over the phone. Be cautious if the caller insists on you providing such details.

High-Pressure Tactics: If the caller creates a sense of urgency or uses fear tactics, it’s likely a scam.

Too Good to Be True Offers: Be sceptical of offers that seem too good to be true or require immediate action.

Suspicious Caller ID: Even if the caller ID seems legitimate, it’s important to verify the identity of the caller independently.


How to protect yourself from vishing

Verify the Caller: If you receive a suspicious call, hang up and contact the organisation directly using a verified phone number from their official website or your account statement.

Do Not Share Personal Information: Never provide personal or financial information to unsolicited callers. If you’re unsure, ask for their contact information and verify their legitimacy.

Use Call-Blocking Technology: Utilise call-blocking features available on your phone or through your phone carrier to reduce unwanted calls.

Educate Yourself and Others: Stay informed about the latest vishing tactics and share this knowledge with friends and family to help protect them as well.

Report Suspicious Calls: If you receive a vishing call, report it to relevant authorities, such as Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime.

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