The majority of people are aware of internet scams. It’s surprisingly easy to become a victim of cybercrime if you visit the wrong website or open the wrong email.
However, one type of scam that many people overlook is one that occurs over the phone. Unfortunately, these scams can be just as costly.
The majority of phone scams use a technique known as vishing. So, what exactly is a vishing attack? And how can you protect yourself from it?
What Is Vishing?
Vishing, also known as voice phishing, is a type of social engineering in which attackers call victims and pretend to be someone else.
It can also happen the other way around, with the victim being duped into making the phone call.
The person on the other end of the line could be tech support, a bank staff, or even a cop. In actuality, they are thieves that phone from thousands of kilometers away for the sole purpose of obtaining your personal information.
If they succeed, they will either commit identity theft or wire fraud.
How Does Vishing Work?
An attacker only needs a phone number, a victim, and an idea to start a vishing scam. The following is a description of how vishing works.
Make a Fake Phone Number
First and foremost, the attacker must be able to generate a fictitious phone number. Before giving up information, most people will check who is calling them. Most people won’t call a number if the area code is incorrect.
To do this, attackers frequently utilize call spoofing. It gives them a fictitious telephone number that is both local and anonymous.
Look For a Victim
Finding a potential victim is the first step in any vishing scam. One way is to send out thousands of emails and wait for a response. Another option is to look for phone books of people and call them one by one. It’s possible that your phone number was also compromised in a data breach.
It’s feasible to encourage people to call the false number by posing as someone else on social media and publishing it.
Start Making Phone Calls
The next stage is primarily determined by the attackers’ creativity. It also depends on how many different telephone numbers they have.
They could send a simple message to a thousand different phone numbers, all asking the same question. Alternatively, they may adopt a more targeted approach and create a tale that is geared to extract information from a certain person.
Vishing Attacks Examples
Vishing methods are always evolving. As soon as one quits working, the attackers move on to the next.
The majority, however, use the same fictitious personalities or character types.
A bank employee will inform you that there is an issue with your account. They must first verify your information in order to resolve the issue.
You will be notified by a telemarketer that you have won a free reward. You only need to confirm your address to obtain the prize.
A tech support representative will inform you that they have discovered a problem with your computer, smartphone, or other device. They may offer to send you an email with a solution. They may also request remote access to your computer.
A tech salesperson will entice you with a fantastic deal on computer services or software. They’ll need an email account or access to your computer once more.
An official from the government (typically the IRS) will inform you that there is a legal issue. You only have to double-check a few details to avoid a penalty. They’ll even call and ask for money.
How to Identify a Vishing Scam
Cybercriminals take advantage of the fact that most individuals are unaware of their methods. This is true with vishing as well.
Once you’re aware of their presence, most vishing calls are rather straightforward to spot.
Always be wary of anyone who phones you and pretends to be in a position of authority.
When calling a stranger, the ordinary individual is quite frigid. A scam caller, on the other hand, will frequently attempt to be extremely nice, or, if that fails, fairly menacing.
Every vishing call ends with a request for something. When an anonymous caller requests for personal information of any type, be cautious.
Anyone who makes phone calls for a living is well aware that this is not permitted. For example, your bank would never ask you for sensitive data over the phone.
How to Avoid Vishing Scams
Knowing that vishing exists is half the battle in preventing it. Then it’s just a matter of being cautious and vigilant.
Do Not Respond to Unknown Numbers
The simplest technique to avoid receiving a vishing call is to just do not answer the phone. Of course, this isn’t always feasible. If you don’t recognize the number calling, you can put it on voicemail—if the call is truly urgent, they should leave a message. But, obviously, this isn’t always the case.
Be Wary of Who You Call
When looking for a phone number on the internet, be cautious about where you look. Calling numbers found on social media is never a good idea.
Always Confirm Who You’re Speaking With
If you do get a call from someone you don’t know, don’t say anything crucial until you’ve confirmed who you’re speaking with. This can be accomplished by setting up a callback for them at a time convenient for you.
Remember that many scam callers will have their own scam number ready to hand out, saying it is their personal direct line.
Personal Information Should Not Be Shared
This one is fairly simple. Personal information should never be given out for any reason. When you call someone, it’s usually fine to confirm minor details. When they call, it’s never okay.
Don’t Believe Anything They Say
The usual scam caller is a master at obtaining information from victims that they don’t want them to have. They make these calls throughout the day. And they’re almost always working with a script.
Vishing Is Predictable
Because most individuals are ignorant of how widespread phishing is, it is effective. It also employs a variety of deception techniques to persuade you that you have no choice but to supply the necessary data.
The good news is that if you learn about these methods ahead of time, most vishing calls will be easy to spot and avoid.