Consumers warned over new 'vishing' scamFraudsters turn to the phone to steal

22 January 2008

A close-up of a telephone cord a man is using to make a call.

Fraudsters are resorting to a new scam to get people to hand over their personal information.

The Internet Crime Complaint Center in the US has received many reports about an identity theft scam known as ‘vishing’.

Vishing operates along the same lines as ‘phishing’ emails, which have increased dramatically in recent years.

With phishing, fake emails appear to have been sent by a site such as eBay or Paypal or your bank, but links embedded within the emails direct you to a fake website which look similar to the real thing.

Identity theft

These sites will then ask for personal information in order to steal your identity.

With ‘vishing’, you're contacted by email or text message and told there has been a security problem and you need to call your bank to reactivate a credit or debit card.

When you call the telephone number, you get a message such as ‘Welcome to the bank of ...’. You're then asked to enter a card number and personal details.

The Internet Crime Complaint Center says people need to beware of emails, telephone calls, or text messages requesting people hand over their personal information.

Security software

Which? recommends that if you're emailed or phoned by your bank, use its normal contact numbers to confirm whether the message is genuine.

It is a good idea to use a spam filter on your PC to block unsolicited emails. You can see our security software report for current Best Buys.