Around a quarter of adults are at risk of falling victim to a growing telephone scam called vishing, according to Financial Fraud Action UK.
Vishing involves a fraudster posing on the phone 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 get financial information which often includes card and bank account details, pin numbers, as well as information about the victim, such as their full name, date of birth and address, which they can then use to plunder the victim’s account or commit identity fraud.
Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK) said it has seen an increase of £36 million over the last year in crimes involving online and phone banking, online and telephone purchases and criminals filling out fraudulent applications.
If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud read our guide on how to report a scam.
High cost of ‘vishing’ scam
FFA UK said that at least £7 million has been lost to vishing alone.
Almost a quarter of people in the UK have received a cold call requesting personal or financial information potentially leaving them open to becoming a victim of the scam.
Four in 10 people admitted they found it challenging to tell the difference between a genuine and fraudulent call, FFA UK found.
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.
FFA UK also warned consumers that banks will never call up and ask for a customer’s four-digit card pin or ask to withdraw or transfer money to another account.
Research carried out by Which? in July this year also found that online banking scams are also rife with two thirds of Which? members saying they had received a scam email.
More than a third of the 980 Which? members who responded to the survey in June 2013 said they received an email claiming to be from Barclays Bank.
A further one in ten had reason to believe they’d received a scam communication from a bank, but weren’t certain.
If you think you’ve been sent a fraudulent email, read our guide on how to report an email scam.
Reporting a scam
If you spot a scam, it’s not always clear who you should report it to, and there are different companies you should contact, depending on the scam. Find out more with our guide on how to report a scam.
If you’re the victim of a mimicking scam, where fraudsters pretend to be from a genuine company, it’s worth contacting the company that has been mimicked as the company can then warn other people about the scam.
It’s also worth reporting the scam to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and crime reporting centre. It provides a central point of contact about fraud and financially motivated internet crime.
It offers an online reporting tool or you can call and speak to an advisor on 0300 123 2040.