Telecommunications fraud is on the increase. Criminals continue to find more devious ways to hack into telecoms systems or pray on people’s trust and vulnerability. Unfortunately, fraudsters do not have a conscience when it comes to victimising easy targets.
This week four men were convicted of serial phone scamming carried out across the south of England, defrauding 18 pensioners of life savings worth £600,000. Another five men had already pleaded guilty in relation to the phone scam before the trial started.
The fraudsters posed on the phone as police officers investigating a fraud at the person’s bank and requested they move money to a separate account, committing a crime known as voice phishing or ‘vishing’.
Voice phishing is the criminal practice of using social engineering over a telephone system to gain access to private, personal and financial information for the purpose of financial reward. This type of fraud is sometimes referred to as ‘vishing’ – a combination of the words ‘voice’ and ‘phishing’.
Telephone fraud is not a new phenomenon, but ‘vishing’ is on the increase. The worst you can do is believe this is will never happen to you.
Fake Divert Request
Another telecommunications fraud is faking a divert request, whereby fraudsters posing as end users place diverts on lines. The call forwarding scam works when a fraudster tricks a subscriber into call forwarding their number to either a long-distance number or a number at which the fraudster or an accomplice is accepting collect calls. The unsuspecting subscriber receives a huge telephone bill for the calls.
Over the last few weeks, we have been informed of a number of fraudulent requests for high-end smartphones on new business contracts. The fraudsters use valid company details and bank details, which allow them to pass credit checks and obtain smartphones and other business telecom services. The requests are normally bulk orders for top-of-the-range smartphones with a large data allowance.
In some cases, the ‘cloned’ company has no online presence and the fraudsters create a website and email addresses using the details from Companies House. In some cases the contact and business details change or there is a last minute change of delivery address.
Our advice to anyone selling mobile phones are other telecommunications services is to always validate the business details by contacting the business using alternative contact details found on Companies House, and be suspicious of any last minute changes to the company or delivery address details. Do not rely solely on information provided by the person placing the order.
Our advice to everyone is to remain vigilant at all times, especially at this time of year when trust and goodwill might relieve you of your better judgement. We can all be conned at times when we least expect to be a victim of fraud.