herald

Saturday 3 December 2016

Telephone scam targets life savings of elderly

crime

Picture posed
Picture posed

GardaI have issued a warning about a new telephone scam that has seen some people lose up to €32,000 in savings.

The elaborate scam uses what is known as 'vishing', which involves criminals deceiving members of the public into giving them their personal information over the phone and has targeted over 30 victims in the past number of weeks.

Gardai do not have an overall figure on the total sum of money that has been stolen, but they suspect that elderly people with landline phones are the gang's main targets.

purchase

The scam sees a victim receive a call from a criminal posing as a 'security manager' for a 'high-end' retail company.

The 'security manager' then tells the victim that they have caught someone in the retail store fraudulently using the victim's credit or debit card information to make a purchase.

They then tell the victim to hang up and contact their bank immediately via the phone number provided on the back of their credit or debit card.

The criminals stay on the line after a victim hangs up and if the victim makes a phonecall to anyone else within 60 seconds they will be transferred back to the criminal instead. The criminal passes the phone to an accomplice who pretends to be with the victim's bank and the victim provides the criminal with access to their assests, Detective Inspector John Foudy explained.

"The key to spotting the scam is if you receive a call from someone claiming to be a security manager, after you hang up and call someone else there will be no dial tone if the criminal stays on the line," said Detective Garda John Walshe.

Gardai are collaborating with Interpol on the case.

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