Don't be hooked in by 'vishing' thieves

Monday, 5 November, 2018

Put the phone down on scammers who are calling mobiles and landlines in a bid to swindle people's savings.

That is the message from East Dunbartonshire Council's Trading Standards service, which is backing a new warning on 'vishing' from Police Scotland.

Vishing is the fraudulent practice of making phone calls or leaving voice messages purporting to be from reputable companies - aiming to cheat individuals into revealing personal information, such as bank details or credit card numbers.

People are being urged to be vigilant and to alert vulnerable family members and friends who may not be aware such scams are in operation.

Police have issued details of three methods of operation for 'vishing' fraudsters:

1. The victim is called with basic details about who they are and bank with. The fraudster's phone number may even appear to match numbers used by banks. They introduce themselves as a bank employee and claim there has been suspicious spending, convincing the victim to move their money to ‘safe accounts’ set up for them. The victim then logs into their online banking account and transfers their savings into their own current account. From there they are provided with a list of 'mule' accounts and instructed to send the funds on. The fraudster tells the victim they will receive new bank cards in the post. However, this is a lie and the money is stolen.

2. Contact with victim as above. The fraudster then states that bank staff in the victim’s local branch are responsible for intercepting people’s money and stealing it. To catch them the fraudster requires the victim to attend the local branch and make transfers to ‘safe accounts’. By doing so they claim they will see the flow of the funds and be able to identify which staff member is responsible. It is reinforced that they must not trust anyone in the branch. Fraudsters also warn victims that it is a criminal offence to tell anyone about the contents of the phone calls. Once again, it is a scam designed to steal savings.

3. Victim receives a text message on their phone claiming to be from PayPal stating their account has been compromised and they have 36 hours to log in and fix the issue. There is a fraudulent Internet link on the text message. The victim clicks this link and is taken to a fake PayPal page where they unwittingly provide fraudsters with their details. They are later called using 'spoofing' technology and warned that their account has been compromised via PayPal and they must move their money to a 'safe' account. Again this is a scam and the money is stolen.

As well as phone calls, criminals are also issuing e-mails with content similar to the above.

Councillor Billy Hendry, Convener of the Council’s Place, Neighbourhood & Corporate Assets Committee, said, "These despicable crimes are often targeted against the most vulnerable in our society and I would urge everyone to be vigilant.

"If you are in any doubt as to the authenticity of the person on the other end of the phone, ask for details of the organisation they represent then hang up and speak to trusted friends or relatives and check information on the Internet regarding the organisation. You should also contact East Dunbartonshire Council’s Trading Standards team.

"Never give out any personal details to anyone who has cold-called you.

"If you feel uneasy regarding the content of the conversation or you feel that the caller is not genuine, do not enter into communication with them, just hang up the phone.

"Similarly, be aware of scam e-mails - many of which may use similar techniques to cold callers. Don't divulge personal information and never reveal personal details."

You can contact Trading Standards for further information and advice on 0300 1234510.

You can also visit Police Scotland website

  • If you are being inundated with nuisance/scam calls you may wish to consider purchasing a call blocker or a telephone that incorporates call-blocker technology.
  • You can also register your number with the Telephone Preference Service. Once registered, sales and marketing calls should be significantly reduced. Visit or call 0345 070 0707.

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