We’ve made readers aware of telephone scams in the past (including this Windows scam from 4 years ago, which continues to this day), but for one of the first times you can take a listen to a call to a real victim of a slightly different type of phone bank scam.
In this scam, a fraudster pretends they are calling from Santander’s fraud prevention team, warning the victim of suspicious transactions on their account, and begins to gain the trust of the victim by telling them to expect a call from another member of their team from a phone number shown on the back of their debit card.
In actual fact, the conmen can spoof the phone number to make their phone call look like it’s coming from the legitimate number.
Following this, they eventually managed to get the victim to transfer Â£12,000 in to another account, from where the money rapidly disappeared to other accounts.
You can listen to the first call made to the victim on the BBC website.
Thankfully the victim was reimbursed in full in this case, although that is largely due to the BBC getting involved.
The most worrying thing about this scam is that it does not require a great amount of information on the victim in order to work; a name, telephone number and the bank they’re with was all that was required. Of course, other potential victims might ask more questions of the callers, and hopefully won’t go as far as transferring the money, but nevertheless it’s a pretty simple crime which could potentially net thousands for the fraudsters, and only needs a few people to believe the fraudsters to generate a fair bit of money for them.
This technique is known as “vishing” (“voice fishing”), and in order to prevent falling for it yourself, here’s what the Financial Ombudsman says banks will never do:
- ask you to authorise a transfer of money to a new account, or hand over cash
- ask for your PIN or passwords in full on the phone or via email
- send someone to your home to collect cards or cash
- ask you to send personal banking information via email or text
- ask you to carry out a test transaction online
- call you to advise you buy diamonds, land or other commodities