A rather bizarre incident occurred in Slovakia, where an 85-year-old woman received a vishing call from a fake relative who introduced themself as her grandson – a widespread telephone scam aiming at the savings of the elderly population.
The grandmother believed it was indeed her grandson, a starting point that usually results in a huge financial loss for the victim. This time, however, the story had an unexpected happy ending, Slovak authorities informed.
Under an unspecified excuse, the fake grandson asked the woman to give him money. The victim was instructed to take the cash from the bank and meet her grandson for a handover near the hospital in the city of Banská Bystrica.
The 85-year-old obliged, and after she got $21,500 from her bank account, she arrived at the hospital. By a lucky coincidence, there she found out her phone was accidentally set to Airplane mode, unable to call back the scammer.
In an attempt to resolve the situation, she asked a security service employee to help her. However, the person was unable to disengage the feature on the older mobile phone. Trying to help, they offered the old lady to call the grandson from his mobile phone.
Obviously, the real grandson had no idea what is his grandma talking about and they quickly realized what was actually happening. The grandmother was taken back to the bank where she – under supervision – deposited the money back into her bank account.
These vishing scams – a telephone variant of phishing – are extremely popular and dangerous. The financial damage is often five digits, sometimes even more, with the elderly being stripped of their life savings in a matter of few hours.
You might think that the scam is easy to uncover, and that is true. A simple call back to the actual relative is usually just enough. However, in reality, the older generation is more vulnerable and less cautious. And with the damage being so substantial, the scammers need just a handful of unfortunate citizens to bite the bait. Luckily, in this case, they were left empty-handed…