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Vishing Scam

11th August 2015

Purpose of Advisory

There are increasing reports of bank customers being cold-called by persons claiming to be from a well-known a retail outlet and being told that a third party is in the outlet at that time attempting to fraudulently use the customer’s card (visa debit or credit). A number of customers have been duped and substantial sums have been paid away/transacted.

A pdf version of BPFI’s Vishing Scam Fraud Alert is available to download here.

Key Details

The customer is advised by the caller to contact their card services team, using the number on the reverse of their card to notify the bank of the compromise. The customer proceeds to immediately call this number (sourced from the back of their card), however as the initial caller has not hung up, the line remains open for a number of minutes. The customer proceeds to disclose their personal banking information to the bogus card unit (i.e. the perpetrator) who has remained on the telephone line.

In recent incidents, the bogus card unit advises the bank customer to ring An Garda Síochána. The bogus card unit provides the customer with a phone number to ring. Yet again the phone line remains open as the second call was also not terminated. The bank customer, in turn thinks they are actually speaking with the Gardaí and acts on the advice they are given.

In recent cases the perpetrator pretending to be the Gardaí instructs the bank customer to move their money to a “new safe bank account” overseas. Substantial sums have been lost by victims as a result of this crime.

Red Flags

  • Bank customers are cold called – receiving unsolicited telephone calls.
  • Caller claims to be from a well-known Retailer informing them of a fraud involving their bank card (debit or credit).
  • The initial phone call is not terminated (i.e. the phone line remains open) as the perpetrator does not hang up.
  • On the second call (this in fact is a continuance of the first call) the bogus card unit does not know any personal information about the customer (e.g. where I live, my date of birth, etc.).
  • The bogus card unit seeks details of the customer’s bank account.
    Either the bogus card unit or the perpetrator acting as the Gardaí attempts to dupe the customer into transferring a large sum from their account to a bank account overseas (possibly in the UK or other destinations).
  • Customers are advised by the perpetrators/fraudster that their bank/branch staff cannot be trusted.


  • Consumers are encouraged to treat all unsolicited phone calls with scepticism and to be vigilant in this regard.
  • Hang up the call – in advance of making any subsequent calls ensure and listen for a dial tone.
  • “Phone a Friend” in order to ensure that any suspect call has terminated – call and speak with someone who is known to you (e.g. a loved one, a family member, a neighbour etc.)
  • Phone your bank’s customer services team using the number from the reverse of your bank card, ensure there is a dial tone before you ring.
  • Your bank will never contact you and ask for your full PIN number, neither will the bank ask you to input your full PIN number onto your phone keypad during a phone call.

Remember your bank will never initiate contact with you by phone/email asking for account/personal financial information details.

This is a general notice issued by the Financial Crime and Security Department of the BPFI on Behalf of BPFI members.

Disclaimer Note: The information contained in this Fraud Alert /Advisory is for general guidance and for information purposes only and is intended to enhance awareness and vigilance regarding this fraud.

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