Fraudsters targeting elderly and vulnerable people in telephone scams have conned tens of thousands of euro from victims in recent months, Gardaí have warned.
One person duped by the “vishing” plot within the last two weeks transferred €22,000 to a criminal, who posed as a Garda Superintendent.
Vishing scams involve criminals tricking people out of their savings over the telephone by pretending to be from a legitimate body such as their bank or the police.
In a version of the con, also known as the “no hang up scam”, the fraudsters use technical tricks to stay on the phone line.
When the victim puts the phone down and then tries to call their bank or the garda, they will still be speaking to the fraudster, who poses as an authority.
Scammers targeting Irish homes in recent months have been claiming to be a security manager from a well known store.
The victim is asked to provide their personal financial details and, if they refuse, the bogus security manager advises them to phone their bank or the gardaí to confirm his authenticity.
The fraudster remains on the line and poses as the bank or garda superintendent when the victim lifts the phone again.
Gardaí said there has been a “significant” rise in the crime all over the country. In one case an individual personally lost more than €38,000.
Detective Superintendent Gerard Walsh, of the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation, said the criminals are targeting vulnerable, usually elderly people.
“I want to warn people to never give anyone details of their bank accounts or credit card numbers,” he said.
“Please remember that no genuine person or organisation will call and ask for your details.”
Here's how the call goes:
1.Members of the public receive a telephone call to their landline from an individual claiming to be a security manager from a well-known store.
2. The person is asked to provide personal financial details.
3. If they decline, the caller advises the individual to either contact their financial institution using the telephone number on the reverse of their genuine card or alternatively contact the Gardaí and provide the information to them.
A recent twist on the scam has been the use of the name of the local Garda Superintendent by the caller.
4. The customer then hangs up and assumes they are phoning either the bank or the Gardaí as instructed.
5. But the original call has not been terminated - so the victim ends up disclosing their personal banking details to the fraudster or an accomplice who has remained on the line.