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Garda warning after elderly and vulnerable conned in telephone 'vishing' scams

Published 25/09/2015

Elderly people are particularly vulnerable to the scam
Elderly people are particularly vulnerable to the scam

Fraudsters targeting elderly and vulnerable people in telephone scams have conned tens of thousands of euro from victims in recent months, gardai have warned.

One person duped by the "vishing" plot within the last two weeks transferred 22,000 euro to a criminal, who posed as a garda superintendent.

Vishing scams involve criminals tricking people out of their savings over the telephone by pretending to be from a legitimate body such as their bank or the police.

In a version of the con, also known as the "no hang up scam", the fraudsters use technical tricks to stay on the phone line.

When the victim puts the phone down and then tries to call their bank or the garda, they will still be speaking to the fraudster, who poses as an authority.

Scammers targeting Irish homes in recent months have been claiming to be a security manager from a well known store.

The victim is asked to provide their personal financial details and, if they refuse, the bogus security manager advises them to phone their bank or the gardai to confirm his authenticity.

The fraudster remains on the line and poses as the bank or garda superintendent when the victim lifts the phone again.

Gardai said there has been a "significant" rise in the crime all over the country.

In one case an individual personally lost more than 38,000 euro.

Detective Superintendent Gerard Walsh, of the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation, said the criminals are targeting vulnerable, usually elderly people.

"I want to warn people to never give anyone details of their bank accounts or credit card numbers," he said.

"Please remember that no genuine person or organisation will call and ask for your details."

Recent figures from the UK show people aged over 55 could be four times more likely than the general population to become victims of a telephone scam.

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