Increasing numbers of people are being robbed by ‘vishing’ fraudsters. This is despite the banks knowing all about this fraud, and how their customers could easily protect themselves.
I’ve already written about this topic a few times but, for those who’ve not seen those posts, I’ll give a brief outline. The crooks ‘phone you and claim to be from Visa Services, or the police, and tell you that your card has been compromised. They suggest that you ring your bank immediately. That’s also what your bank tells you to do in these circumstances, so that’s what you do. You hang up, lift the ‘phone again, get a dialling tone, and dial the number on the back of your card.
Unfortunately, although you heard a dialling tone, your line wasn’t clear. The fraudsters have held your line open, and you are talking to them and not your bank. From then on you are in their hands.
Journalists, local authorities and the police see it as their duty to warn people about this fraud, but the banks are strangely inert. They are quite happy to let the situation continue. Santander bank goes so far as to say that it has no obligation to give these warnings. It is up to journalists to do it or, failing that, customers must find out for themselves. All this time, of course, the bank has all of the information needed to keep their customers safe.
So, why don’t banks warn their customers? I’ve made enquiries. Apparently, it’s unreasonable to expect them to contact every customer. I know, I know, they do it all the time, but the point is that they won’t allow anyone to tell them what to do.
They are concerned that their profitability will suffer. This will have repercussions. Nations will tumble. It’s just not worth it.
I can put their minds at rest. There is no problem with telling every customer about this scam. Let me explain:
The fraud relies on the victim obeying a section in the bank’s Terms and Conditions. It’s the one that orders them to contact the bank immediately if they think that there is a security problem with their account. As the banks are well aware of the frauds that target this edict, it’s self-evident that the instruction is reckless, and that leaving it unchanged is negligent.
If a bank were to act responsibly, and alter the wording to reflect the danger of villains taking over your ‘phone line, it would do away with much of the crooks’ advantage.
Once the Terms and Conditions have been altered, customers must be informed, with a brief explanation. So now the banks have closed the loophole and warned their customers. Everyone should be happy.
I’m so unreasonable sometimes that it frightens me.
- ‘Vishing’ fraud complaints rising (bbc.co.uk)
- How bank cold calls can put you at risk of fraud (thisismoney.co.uk)
- Online fraud: How easy is it to be conned? (bbc.co.uk)
- Conmen’s ‘phone number mimics your bank’s (dailymail.co.uk)