Phishing attacks, which typically involve email scams, have become all too familiar. These emails provide links that lead to fake websites, tricking victims into sharing their passwords or banking information. Now, there is a more advanced form of scamming that is gaining popularity. It’s called vishing.
Vishing Scams Usually Start with a Voicemail or Text
A vishing scam usually begins with a message telling the would-be victim that they have won something, have a problem with their bank or credit card, or need to pay off a loan as soon as possible. This prepares the victim to expect a call from the sender and makes them more vulnerable to giving up important information.
Unlike email scams, vishing may sound more believable because there’s a real person on the phone, either with a prerecorded message or an actual live voice. That person may sound professional and legitimate, especially if they say they are calling on behalf of a real business, like a bank or a store the victim is familiar with. These scammers use social engineering tactics to gain the recipient’s trust, then subtly ask for confidential information that can be used to access bank accounts or steal a person’s identity. Vishing scams tend to target older, less tech-savvy victims, so it’s important to be aware and educate your loved ones.
How to Identify Common Vishing Tactics
Be wary when answering phone calls from unknown numbers; listen for signs that the caller is not who they are pretending to be. Someone claiming to be from your bank might say you will incur fees if you fail to pick up your new credit card on time. Another caller might say that you have won something, but you need to give out confidential information before receiving your “prize.”
How to Handle a Potential Vishing Attack
If you receive a call asking for confidential information, decline to answer and hang up. Next, call your bank or relevant institution to confirm if they did indeed call you. If the call wasn’t legitimate, report it to your local fraud hotline to help authorities monitor vishing scams in your area.