Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK) recently warned of a significant increase in the use of vishing scams, in which fraudsters call victims with the aim of tricking them into revealing personal or financial information or making payments into the fraudsters' accounts (h/t Infosecurity).

In such scams, the fraudsters pose as representatives of the police, a bank or building society fraud investigation team or another legitimate organization, and try to obtain credit or debit card numbers, bank account details, and personal information such as the victim's full name, birthdate and/or mailing addresses -- which they then use to access the victim's finances.

According to FFA UK, at least £7 million in losses could be attributed to vishing scams in the UK between April 2012 and March 2013.

Twenty-three percent of people in the UK received a cold call requesting their personal or financial information during that time, and 39 percent said they had trouble telling the difference between a genuine call and a fraudulent one. Thirty percent of the UK population had received at least 10 such cold calls per month, with 41 percent suspecting that a call may have been fraudulent.

"Fraudsters can use personal information gleaned from vishing in a number of ways including to access a victim's bank account, make fraudulent purchases and commit identity theft," DCI Dave Carter, head of the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit (DCPCU), said in a statement [PDF]. "Always be wary of cold callers who suggest you hang up the phone and call them back. Fraudsters will keep your phone line open by not putting down the receiver at their end. Remember that it takes two people to terminate a call so try and use a different phone line if you are asked to ring back. If you think you've already been a victim of this scam, contact your bank or card company immediately."