Vishing is the practice of making phone calls or leaving voice mails posing as representatives from a reputable company.
The point of vishing is to induce people to reveal personal information such as bank information, credit card numbers, and even social security numbers.
A vishing attack can be conducted by voice email, VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol), or through landline or cellular service.
Examples of Vishing Attacks
There are different kinds of vishing attacks, each of them just as insidious as the other. The overall objective of the scam is to gain information of a personal financial nature.
Through voicemail, the vishing attack invites the listener to call a specific number concerning a “credit card”, an issue, or an opportunity.
Through the entire call, there will be prompts for personal information. Once the call is finished, the victim has given away valuable information.
Phone Calls & Voicemails
A very common method of vishing is through calling on the phone. The call appears on a person’s caller id as a local number. Therefore, the victim thinks it is not spam. However, the scam artist is using a phone spoofing software.
They could be calling from a different country, but because their number appears as local, people are more likely to trust the caller.
Once the call is received, the person gives their personal information through a series of questions. If the scammer has information that has already been retrieved, they can appear more deceptive.
For example, a vishing caller may contact a person with the name of their bank. The recipient is more likely to trust the caller because they used the name of their bank when the call was answered. This often results in the recipient freely giving away information.
Vishing Red Flags
- Claim to represent a large company, such as Verizon or Microsoft
- Request for verification of account information such as a username or password
- Requests personal information such as a social security number
- Asking for credit card or bank account or card information
- Requests remote access to your computer
As you can see, the scammer will use many techniques to get information from their victim.
They will go to great lengths to acquire information, using advanced software to make their phone number appear local, or even change the caller id on the recipient’s phone, so that it appears as a legitimate company. This is called Number Spoofing.
Tips for Protection Against Vishing
In order to ward off the vishing attacks, there are different techniques potential victims can use. The key is to be extremely selective with information given out using any kind of medium, whether it is a phone call or email.
Here are tips on how to ward off vishing attacks:
- Be Informed
- Be Extremely Selective
- Be Discreet
- Be Suspicious
The most important factor in combat against vishing is to be informed about the practice of vishing. Learn everything you can about vishing and this knowledge will help you recognize the red flags so that you can prepare yourself.
Remember that knowledge is power.
Be Extremely Selective
When confronted with a possible vishing attack, it’s best to act as if you don’t have what they want. It’s not unsafe to play ignorant, especially when you feel as if something is wrong.
Be selective with the information you give. Have a list of people you trust. If someone outside of that list requests personal information, be selective with the information you give.
Not all information is meant to be shared. Keep your personal information in a safe secure place. Do not download any unknown files. If attacked through email, contact the company and ask if they emailed you.
Chances are, they did not email you. If they called you, tell them you will call them back. Call the company and verify they called you. Again, chances are they did not call you.
Have an overall sense of skepticism against possible vishing attacks. Be suspicious. Question everything that wants personal information, even if the source is legit.
Check out the source to make sure it is verifiable. Be prepared and question those calling or emailing you on all fronts. Never feel bad about hanging up and calling back a number you trust.
If you are a victim of vishing, there are people to contact for resources. Here is a brief list of those you can contact:
- Your State’s Attorney General
In summary, do not feel helpless if you are a victim of vishing. The scam artists are out there and want to do damage to your credit, while reaping the benefits. As the technology of the scam artist increases in power, anyone can be a victim. Your key weapon is knowledge and information.