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Quarter of people in UK at risk of “Vishing”

Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK) has highlighted a phone scam in which fraudsters target 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’.

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.

What is 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.

Do not be afraid to end cold calls

The fraud prevention body said people should not be afraid to just put the phone down on someone if they are unsure about handing over details. It warned consumers not to assume a caller is genuine just because they hold some information about them. Criminals may already have got hold of some basic information about a potential victim, such as a name, address and account details to try to make the call appear legitimate.

DCI Dave Carter, Head of the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit (DCPCU) 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".

Read more on the Financial Fraud Action UK website.

Please note: Action Fraud is not responsible for the content on external websites.

If you are a victim of “Vishing” call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use our online tool to report the fraud and receive a police crime reference number.

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