Staffordshire Police are asking people to talk to their elderly family members and neighbours about phone scams on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (15 June), as it’s one of the main methods of fraud targeting older or vulnerable people.
Vishing (fraud over the phone) is when a fraudster calls claiming they are from your bank or some other trusted organisation e.g. the police. Since they can both fake the telephone number on the screen and do their research to find out some of your basic bank and personal details, it’s easy for them to make you believe they’re who they say they are.
Remember though, a genuine bank will never ask you for personal or financial details like your PIN number or full banking password (even by tapping it into your phone keypad).
Detective Inspector Rob Harvmann, of the force’s Fraud and Financial Investigation Unit said: “If you receive a request to provide personal or financial information, you need to take a moment to reflect and step back from the situation. Yes, even if they say they are the bank or other trusted organisation, you still need to take the time to stop and think about what’s really going on.
“Be vigilant, do not engage in conversation, put the phone down and tell someone you trust. If you have been a victim of such a fraud and you have handed money to someone, please contact 101 or Action Fraud.”
Five things look out for on a scam phone call:
- The caller doesn’t give you time to think, tries to stop you speaking to a family member or friend or is insistent and makes you feel uncomfortable
- The caller asks you to transfer money to a new account for fraud reasons
- They phone to ask for your four-digit card PIN or your online banking password. Even if they ask you to online banking password. Even if they ask you to give it to them by tapping into the telephone keypad rather than saying the numbers out loud, this is a scam
- They ask you to withdraw money to hand over to them for safe-keeping
- They may say that you are a victim of fraud and offer to send a courier to your home to collect your cash, PIN, payment card or cheque book.