LOCAL gardai have warned people to be very careful of a new fraud which is resulting in the theft of substantial monies from the victims.
‘Vishing’ is a type of fraud where a fraudster phones an individual with the intention of obtaining their personal details by deception.
This type of fraud received extensive media coverage this summer, but it is still becoming increasingly common, crime prevention officer Sgt Ian O’Callaghan of Bandon Garda Station, has warned.
As the fraudsters use landlines, there appears to be more instances where elderly persons have become victims of this scam. Many elderly people need a landline to activate their pendant alarms and also often prefer the more traditional phones to mobiles, making them an obvious target.
According to Sgt O’Callaghan, this type of crime involves individuals being cold-called and informed by a fraudster that their credit or debit card is being used in a retail store and that they must do one, or more, of the following: provide the caller with their credit/debit card details; contact their bank and provide details of their cards to them; contact their local garda superintendent – and the contact details is provided by the fraudster.
In many cases, when they then call the ‘local’ superintendent, they are advised to withdraw their money from their bank account and transfer the money to a ‘safe’ account outside the jurisdiction. The names of genuine garda superintendents have been used in this regard.
Sgt O’Callaghan says that this sophisticated scam is possible because of a time delay when the recipient of the call hangs up initially. On landlines, the call doesn’t immediately disconnect and fraudsters can remain on the open phone line because they have not put down the receiver at their end. When the potential victim makes the follow-up call, they think that they are speaking to the person they intended to call. But instead, they are actually talking to the fraudster or an accomplice.