Financial Fraud in Britain

Financial fraud in Britain is a serious problem. The sort of frauds that I hear about are very depressing… in the sense that it’s really quite difficult to imagine someone who would do such a crime, at least based upon the people in my life, I find it hard to imagine anyone being so cold. Anyway, I was on the way home yesterday and listening to a radio show on BBC5Live…as if the cricket score was not bad enough… anyway It was the Adrian Goldberg show, which yesterday covered assaults on taxi drivers and subject of “Vishing”. Vishing is a telephone scam.

Hello… its  (A big retailer) and we think you’ve been subject to fraud..

In a nutshell, the crook tricks people into giving over their bank card details. Now on the one hand you would think this is fairly obvious and easy to avoid, but the scam basically goes along the following course. You get a call from someone claiming to work for a major retailer – say Tesco, chances are you have been there. The criminal says that the company have identified a suspected fraud on your card. S/he then suggests that you get your card… which one is it? And you have a look at the number on the back to report the fraud… you politely say thank you and hang up…. but you haven’t hung up, you still have an open line (if it’s a land line), the fraudster might even play the sound of a dial tone to make you think you’ve hung up. So you pick up the phone and dial your bank, but actually you are still speaking to the original fraudster (or his/her accomplice)… and so the fraud really begins.

Distraction & Misdirection

The main way that fraudsters operate is to distract. In this instance, to distract you with help. You are thrown off guard by being told you may have had fraud on your account. Do not give your bank details over the phone (or internet) to anyone that YOU have not properly identified and be careful when you are being asked for details.

Open Lines

This fraud works due to an issue with open phone lines. At the moment 40% of the land line network closes lines within 2 seconds of you hanging up, but this scam relies on the line being kept open for longer. BT and Virgin currently keep a line open for 2 minutes (according the BBC radio show). The Police advise using a different phone or waiting at least 5 minutes before calling your Bank on their proper number.

Before you next go shopping…check out FFA UK

This sort of stuff is miserable, but it happens all the time. Anyone can fall for it. You are generally not protected against fraud if you give your details out. In Surrey 81 cases have been reported, worth £900,000 since July. The Met report over 2,200 cases in London worth over £3.5m. You have been warned. Please have a look at the Financial Fraud Action UK website for further tips and advice.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

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