How to protect yourself from mobile scams

Phone fraud is on the rise 

3 minutes

Sophisticated scammers are stealing thousands of pounds from customers in a sudden spike of telephone fraud. Not sure how to recognise a scam call?

We look at the most common tactics fraudsters use to get your bank details. 

  • What is vishing?
  • How to recognise a vishing call
  • What to do if you think you've been vished

If in doubt, hang up, and call your bank

Telephone fraud, or vishing, is on the rise. Fraudsters use clever tactics to get you to share your personal details over the phone. Vishing is rife in the finance and insurance sectors, but also impacts the police, big companies and individuals. LV= home insurance investigates.

Vishing: a true story 

A 69-year-old woman from Farnham near Southampton, was targeted in May with a call claiming to be from her bank's fraud investigation department. A retired teacher, said she was asked for by name and told her card had been used fraudulently at a high street store.

'They put me at ease, and told me the card had been stopped,' she said. 'They asked me to read out the number on the back of my bank card and said I had to call the number straight away'. 

She hung up and called the number, but the fraudster stayed on the line and pretended to be a customer services representative. 'They asked me to check my account online and said there was a risk my account would be hacked,' said the victim. 'They said they'd set up new accounts and they would talk me through it.' She was told to move £17,500 of retirement savings in separate transfers totalling £8,745.55 and £8,845.22 respectively.

'I became increasingly suspicious, but I kept telling myself I had dialled the phone number myself,' she said. 'I was getting increasingly unhappy. My husband came home and I asked him to ring on his mobile.' 

The husband and wife quickly realised they had fallen victim to a scam. (Sourced from BBC online, no names have been disclosed)

Luckily, on this occasion the lady was reimbursed in full by her bank, but some people aren't always as lucky. 


How does vishing work in insurance?

Have you ever received a call where someone tells you there is thousands of pounds in compensation waiting for you, for an injury you may have suffered in a car accident?
These calls are vishing calls and primarily made by marketing firms or claims management companies who make contact with people, regardless if you've been in an accident or not, with a view to manipulating you into making a fraudulent claim. They will sway you into believing it's ok to make the claim and the money is rightfully yours, but if you don't have a genuine accident related injury, it's not. 

If you do make a false claim off the back of a vishing call, you'll be the person most likely held accountable, so please be vigilant and read LV= guidelines on how to prevent insurance vishing.

How to know if you are being vished?

Vishing scammers can go to great length. They use a number of techniques to get information from you. These are some of the methods to look out for:

  • Information: the caller already has your name, address, phone number, vehicle details - essentially the kind of information you would expect a genuine caller to have. Most genuine firms will ask you data security questions to confirm they are speaking to the correct person.
  • Urgency: You are made to believe your money is in danger and have to act quickly - fear often leads people into acting without thinking.
  • Phone spoofing: The phone number can appear as if it's coming from somewhere local, so encouraging you to answer without question as the caller's number looks friendly.
  • Atmosphere: You hear a lot of background noise so it sounds like a call centre rather than a guy in a basement - they either do have a call centre, or are playing a sound effects CD.

    If you believe any of these techniques have been used or attempted on you, please report it straight away using the information below. 

1. Ofcom:

Independent Regulator and Competition Authority for the UK communications industry.

Report a complaint or issue relating to phone calls.

2. The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO):

An independent authority set up to uphold information rights in the public interest.

Report a complaint or issue relating to nuisance calls.

3. Which?

An independent organisation which works on behalf of the consumer to make individuals as powerful as the organisations they deal with.

Which? Provides a list of the Top 10 most reported numbers and assists with issuing a complaint on your behalf, subject to approval.

4. Telephone Preference Service (TPS):

Provides a free service allowing UK consumers to opt out of receiving telemarketing calls.

You can register both your landline and mobile telephone number to avoid nuisance calls. It's a free service which enables you to join the official register to opt out of unsolicited sales and marketing calls.

To find out more about how LV= protects its customers visit our vishing information page.