Tips for spotting and preventing scam calls.
Vishing scams use deception to get victims to reveal personal, sensitive, or confidential information over the phone. The fraudster will then use any sensitive information they get to impersonate the victim to buy goods that can quickly be converted to cash (mobile phones, vehicles, credit).
Vishing fraudsters will usually call claiming to be from a trusted source, such as a:
If you’ve received a scam calls from virgin media or any of the sources outlined above, you should always check that the call is genuine before giving any sensitive information over the phone. If you are suspicious, simply hang up and call the official number for the organisation the caller claims to be from (you can find this online), just to be certain.
There are three common types of vishing scams. Let’s have a look at how these work, so you know how to avoid them.
Usually, this kind of vishing scam is done through a pre-recorded message, but sometimes the call might be made by a person claiming to be from your bank. You’ll be told that there’s an issue with your account or a payment you’ve made – and that you need to provide your login details, or even to make a whole new payment, to fix it.
Remember, your bank should never call you asking for sensitive information. This includes:
• CVS card security number
• Date of birth
• Or any other sensitive login information
If someone does, hang up and call your bank on their publicly available number, which you can find online.
For this kind of fraud, vishing scammers will call offering services or “opportunities” that are too good to be true – for instance, they’ll say you can get huge returns on one small investment, or they’ll offer a quick fix to pay off all your debt. They’ll also try to pressure you into accepting on the spot, along with paying a “small fee”. Remember, legitimate loan and investment services won't make these types of cold calls, and will only make offer financial services if you have called them first and expressed an interest.
When targeted by this kind of scam, you'll receive a threatening pre-recorded message telling you something's wrong with your tax return – and that you need to call back or a warrant will be issued for your arrest. Do not call the number back. HMRC will only ever call you about a tax payment or rebate you already know about, and they will never leave a voicemail threatening legal action. HMRC also will not give the reason for the call on a voice message. If you do need to speak to HMRC, call them back on a legitimate number, which you can find on their gov.uk website.
There are a few tell tale signs to look out for that can help prevent you from becoming a victim of vishing. Remember, genuine service providers such as your bank, internet providers or government departments (like HMRC) will never ask for sensitive information over a cold call. If you are, you should always hang up and call the organisation the person claims to be from on a number you know is official.
You should also be very wary about any pre-recorded messages asking you to call the number back, especially any that sound threatening. It’s very unlikely that a genuine service will contact you in this way, especially if you haven’t already been contacted about the matter in question. Again, if you receive this sort of call or voicemail, you should always hang up and call the organisation the message claims to be from on a trusted number.
If you ever receive a call from someone you think might not be genuine:
Learn more about how to protect yourself from scams
During a vishing call, you may have asked to download and install software on to your computer. The software usually allows the caller to log in and control your computer remotely. If you did install anything, we highly recommend that you remove this software as soon as possible. You should also run a virus scan using your security software.
If you need to uninstall any software from your computer, the following guidelines may help.
If you agreed to install anything during a vishing call, your computer could be infected with malicious software (malware). We recommend running a security scan on the machine as soon as possible. If you have security software already installed, there should be an option to Scan Now. Use this option to run a full scan of the system.
If you do not already have anti-virus software, check out Virgin Media Internet Security. This protects you and your family online anywhere, and on any device. You can download Virgin Media Internet Security from My Virgin Media.
Learn how to keep your online accounts secure
If you have been a victim of fraud, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit the Action Fraud website. Action Fraud is the reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Reports of fraud and any other financial crime in Scotland should be reported to Police via 101. However, if debit cards, online banking or cheques are involved in the scam your first step should be to contact your bank or credit card company.
Remember to record the time of the unsolicited contact, the name of the person contacting you and the contact method (telephone numbers or email contact details). All this will be helpful to any investigation.
For independent advice on protecting yourself online, check out Get Safe Online or the Ofcom website.
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