Vishing tackled: phone scams

In the latest in a series to increase awareness among businesses of the potential threats they face from scammers, we look at vishing – including how it works, who is most at risk and how to stay safe.

What would you do if someone phoned to tell you the police were coming to arrest you for failing to pay your taxes? Correct answer: nothing – because this is the latest vishing scam, in which fraudsters use the phone to pose as genuine organisations to fleece you out of money or sensitive information.

You might think you wouldn’t fall for this (HMRC, by the way, has no direct legal authority to arrest you), but every vishing victim says the same thing: the caller sounded so convincing.

“Vishing isn’t as publicised as other scams,” says Jason Charalambous, head of information security at cyber-defence firm Bulletproof. “Yet it’s by far the most successful because it exploits the human psyche in a different way. It has a direct human contact element that other fraud methods do not.”

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