A 30yr old local woman has advised Eastleigh News that she has fallen victim to a telephone/banking scam, known as ‘Vishing’. She has asked us not to publicise her identity, but is keen to share her experience and bring this story to the attention of other people. She wants to raise awareness of this problem and help other people to be on their guard.
This victim of this fraud tells us that she has lost seven years of savings, out of her modest income as an Allied Health Professional within the NHS. She had hoped to put these savings towards the deposit on her first home. However, as the funds that were transferred have been frozen, there is some hope that she will get her money back.
Her story, in her own words, is as follows;
On the morning of Saturday 23rd December at approximately 09:30 I received a call to my landline from a person identifying himself as from Visa Verify. He confirmed my name and that I had a Visa card.
The purpose of the call was to query recent activity on my card, an amount of c.£500 at PC World online and c.£600 at ba.com, the transactions occurring in Birmingham and Manchester. I said that the transactions were not authorised, nor carried out by myself.
I was asked to check that the card was still in my possession, which I confirmed that it was. I was instructed to contact my bank immediately, by phoning the Barclays’ lost and stolen card number on the back of the card.
After putting the phone down from the incoming call, I did so immediately, calling from the same telephone on which I had received the original enquiry. I heard a dial tone prior to making the outgoing call to the Barclays number.
I got through promptly to a man named “Jamie” and reported my card as compromised. I was taken through security checks which involved me confirming standard personal details such as my full name, date of birth, address and my mother’s maiden name.
“Jamie” said that he had blocked my card but that because it had been violated, we should ensure that all eventualities had been covered.
Asked if I could easily access online banking to check the accounts, I logged on.
He confirmed that I was logged on in the Southampton area and said that they could see that two other people were simultaneously logged on, in the Manchester and Birmingham areas.
I was asked to check my accounts for any unusual activity, which I did, confirming the balances and that no unusual activity was evident to me.
At this point I informed my husband. He asked me who I was on the phone to and I replied ‘to Barclays’. He enquired how I knew it to be Barclays, given that my internet banking had apparently been hacked. I replied that I had phoned them myself and he was reassured.
I returned to my call and raised the question of why I could not see the ba.com and PC World transactions. The answer from “Jamie” was that they had not gone through as they had been stopped in time, due to the call from Visa Verify.
I was then told by him that one of the other people logged onto my account was trying to do an international transfer of £10,000 from my ISA and that the transaction was pending. I was told that international transfers are complex and do not necessarily show up straightaway. My husband has made such transfers in the past from his bank and confirmed that they had taken several days in the past.
In order to protect the money in my ISA account, I was then advised by “Jamie” to transfer the £10,000 from my ISA account into my personal current account in order to ensure that the transaction did not go through, which I did.
I was told by “Jamie” that, as my accounts had all been violated, I would be given a completely new financial identity. I was put on hold whilst new accounts were generated for me.
After some time on hold, the call handler returned to the phone and stated that new accounts had been generated for me.
I was informed that they had run diagnostics on my case and that it was likely that a Trojan virus had infected my computer, enabling my card details to be copied. They advised me to change my virus protection software and to consider using banking on my mobile phone rather than on the internet.
Regarding the international transfer of the £10,000 from my ISA account, I was told that as it was still pending and that they were unable to abort it. The £10,000 in my “old” current account was still accessible to the criminals.
In order to be totally sure that it was safe, I was told by “Jamie” that I should transfer the money to my new account, and this was best done by me as their computers were very slow that day.
I was told my new Barclays account details and proceeded to transfer £10,000 to my “new account” (a Barclays account), using my name and DOB as a reference.
I was then told that all of my new financial details would be sent to me by courier. We discussed when I would be available to receive them and we agreed on the evening of Monday 25th November 2013.
Finally, the caller asked me to rate the service provided and I was full of praise as I was so delighted that I had averted the theft of my savings, which I had worked very hard to save for over the past seven or so years, and was looking forward to utilising very soon. I stated that I would be writing a letter of thanks for the excellent service.
However as no courier had arrived by 19:00 on Monday 25th November 2013, I called Barclays and spoke to a call handler named Kieran. He gathered a few more details and advised me that I might have been the victim of fraud and to telephone the police immediately.
I phoned 101 to be told to contact Action Fraud, which I did immediately, reporting the events. Kieran rang me back and spoke to both me and my husband. We were told that he was able to see my remaining savings and current account balance, which he confirmed, and also the £10,000 transferred to a Barclays account, which he had frozen.
He advised me to call a number for the fraud team during business hours the following day. Inexplicably there seemed to be no system by which he could report such urgent matters immediately.
It was clear at this point that I had been the victim of an elaborate and carefully planned fraud and a deception in which I believed, because I had made the phone call, that I had been talking to Barclays
Both myself and my husband had never heard of this form of fraud/deception before, or been warned about it.
Having been caught by this scam, the victim now says;
The key points about this type of fraud are that the fraudsters are very clever. They do not ask questions such as PIN, card security code as they know that this rings alarm bells with most sensible people. They imitate the bank’s security questions, essentially stealing one’s identity in the process.
People are caught out as they know that they made the outgoing call, they called the bank and not the other way around. Therefore they are highly likely to do what they are told, as people are generally very keen on protecting their money and savings, especially when there is allegedly an imminent risk to them.
The fraudsters have answers for all questions, which seem plausible.
This also highlights a loophole in the telephone system, which allows a line to be held open. It is this technicality that ultimately facilitates this fraud.
She advises the following key points for prevention:
- Go ex-directory (all the fraudsters need are your name and landline number)
- If you receive a call advising you to ring your bank, call out from a different phone if possible.
- If this is not an option, then before phoning the bank, phone a close friend first, to ensure that the call has been properly terminated and that you get through to your friend, not a fraudster pretending to be from the bank.
The standard advice, from all the UK Banks, is that they and the Police will never phone you and ask for your details.
For more information on these scams see the following webpages;