What is Vishing?
Series of cybercrime are done in different ways on many platforms. Since many people prominently use technology and online transactions, these hackers remain active and perform tricks on online users for some financial benefits. Fraudulent activities like voice phishing, vishing attacks, and the likes are the common types of cybercrime that pose threats to many people.
In this article, you will learn more about a vishing scam, things to know about how it happens, standard techniques of vishing, and some typical examples of this illegal activity. You will also learn how to recognise voice phishing and how you can prevent being a victim of this fraudulent text messages activity.
Vishing: What is It?
Vishing is one of the main illegal activities made by scammers or hackers by just using a cell phone, text messages, and stealing confidential information from people. Through vishing or voice phishing, cybercriminals convince their victims that they’re making the majority of suitable decisions by creating a response to the caller. Often, the voice phishing callers pretend and pose that they are from the police department, law enforcement, tax department, government, and bank or financial institutions.
By pretending to be legitimate people or government agencies, cybercriminals utilise modern social engineering approaches to encourage their victims to give up confidential information and access a victim’s account. These cybercriminals tend to use persuasive language or threats so that their victims will have no other options but to provide their private information. The majority of these cybercriminals have concrete plans and encouraging words to convince the people not to have criminal charges.
Some cybercriminals directly call their potential victims via an internet phone service or phone call. Then, they inform them to call back not to face any further damage or problems. Aside from that, they also leave threatening voicemails or a vishing attack, reporting their victims to contact them as soon as possible via phone call. They will also tell the people that if they do not contact them at once, some possible things may happen, such as being arrested, shutting down bank accounts, or even worse.
How Does Vishing Happen?
This scam may only need a victim, phone number, and specific idea to say when they started a conversation with their victim. To successfully do the vishing by the cybercriminals, the following are the things that they need to do:
• Creating and Using Fake Numbers
The first thing that a cyber-attacker must do is create fake numbers for fraudulent activities. Most attackers and scammers utilise call spoofing to get fake numbers — both anonymous and local and their bank account details. Sometimes, they illegally get your numbers from any local financial institution near you.
• Finding a Victim
Scammers will then find their targets or victims via phone phishing. They may use some techniques like sending messages to multiple email addresses, waiting for someone to respond via phone call. Some of these scammers utilise directories, and they start reaching out to the contact number of the names on the lists. If this was the case, then your contact number might be involved in a data breach as well. It is also possible to contact fake numbers used by these scammers since they now utilise social media platforms to make these numbers visible. Vishing also leads to identity theft, credit card account hacking, financial fraud, and phishing emails.
• Calling the Victim
Once the scammers already have a list of contact numbers or details, they will start calling and creating stories based on their imaginative skills or ideas. Then, they will eventually ask for your private information during the conversation without noticing that they are scammers.
These are three simple procedures that are typically done for vishing. So, be always cautious when somebody calls you, especially if you don’t know them. Always ask for more information about the callers to verify their identity before you answer calls. If you ask callers questions, then they will share information that you can use for validation. This is how you will know that you are talking to the right person and not to the cybercriminals or any voice phishing scams organisations.
Four Common Vishing Techniques
There are several techniques used in obtaining confidential information from online users. With the advent of modern or advanced technologies, cybercriminals also use advanced techniques to get personal information from their victims. So, for you to avoid mobile phone number phishing or vishing, you must have extensive knowledge of how these scammers commit fraud. Aside from that, it would be best if you also explored some anti-phishing approaches to protect you from falling into this trap or any fraud voice calls.
To know the different vishing techniques used by cybercriminals, you may check the following lists:
It’s a technique that automatically scans the list of phone numbers. It’s an approach that typically dials the number in local area code, searching for computers, modems, fax machines, and computer servers.
Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP)
VoIP, also referred to as IP telephony, is another approach and cluster of technologies that delivers multimedia sessions and voice communications over IP networks like the internet. They used broadband telephony, broadband phone services, and internet telephony, typically referring to communication services provisions over the internet, then using POTS or Plain Old Telephone Services.
Caller ID Spoofing
Spoofing is a term used when callers deliberately falsify the information transmitted to the caller ID and display it to cover their identity. The majority of the scammers utilise neighbour spoofing to make it appear that the incoming phone call comes from the local number. They sometimes spoof a specific number from the government agency or company you have already recognised and trusted. Once you answer their calls, they will utilise scammed scripts to steal personal information, transfer money, or gain access to fraudulent activities.
It is a method that investigates a business or person’s trash to gather the information that can be utilised in attacking some computer networks. Those dumpster divers try to locate government records, an internal revenue service, financial statements, resumes, and medical bills by just exploring on the victim’s computer.
Once they already gathered some information from the rubbish, they will use the collected data to search for online identity profiles. This social engineering method would likely succeed once they have successfully found a few things about their victims.
With enough knowledge and understanding about these most prominent techniques in vishing, fake caller id profiles, voice phishing scammers, and fake websites, you can proactively respond to avoiding scams. Always be vigilant in your financial transactions online, and make sure to secure yourselves from vishing.
Your personal information should never be divulged into groups or other third parties so that you can have a guarantee that you will not become a victim of this illegal activity.
Examples of Vishing
Vishing attacks became prominent today in circulation. These continuously evolve over several years now and become more enticing, demanding, and complicated to recognise.
To easily recognise all types of fraudulent activities online and other phishing attacks, it is advisable to be familiarised with the numerous forms of vishing you may encounter.
Here are some typical examples of vishing which you should know about:
Another way and example of vishing are through phone calls as a government representative. Fake callers may contact you, informing you that they are from a specific government agency. Then, they will likely ask for sensitive personal information, which is needed for the verification process.
If you suspect that the caller is not the right person to talk with, never share personal data through regular phone calls. To properly know that the caller is from the government agency you are affiliated with, you need to ask more questions about the situation. This is also to verify their identity. You will eventually realise that the caller is a fake one during the conversation since they cannot appropriately answer your queries.
Tech Support Fraud
Vishing may occur through tech support fraud by a specific agent. Some callers or agents may contact you and inform you that they identified some problems with your smartphone, computer, or any other types of devices in your offices or at home. Then, they may give you some remedies to solve these issues.
By doing so, you will then be requested to share with you some bank account information about your computer. For some instances, they may ask you to input your login details remotely. This may be one of their ways to copy your login details and successfully invade your privacy.
This method is also standard this time. Someone will call you over the phone, informing you that there are some problems with your bank account. Then, they will also offer some remedies or alternatives by addressing the issue. Since you are emotionally shocked about the possible consequences, you may also provide your personal or financial information to fix the problem.
So, when someone calls you, informing you to verify your login details in the bank account, you shouldn’t provide your details. Remember that any bank will never ask for your personal information over the phone.
If ever there’s a problem in your bank account, then a bank representative will contact you, and they will ask to visit your bank for validation or verification process. A personal appearance is necessary for you to fix the issues in your bank and not through phone calls.
Another example of a vishing scam is a telemarketing attack. Some agents or callers will contact you, informing you have won an incentive, reward, or a prize from them. Then, for you to claim your prize, you are required to confirm or verify your address. If this was the case, then immediately fall into their trap. This might be a type of scam that obtains confidential or financial information from you.
How to Recognise and Prevent Vishing
There are several ways and approaches that you can do to prevent vishing and other types of fraudulent activities. However, it is necessary for you to understand its nature and how it usually happens to identify it.
If you have no idea about this malicious act, it’s hard to know or realise that you’re experiencing it now. Before preventing vishing, the first response you must do is recognise its nature and learn all its examples.
Generally, vishing is an effective type of scam, especially for those who are unaware of its prominence. It relies on a wide array of tricks and techniques to encourage the victims to have no other options but to give the information being requested from them. The good news about this thing is that most of the vishing calls are recognisable if and only if you already have an insight into their tricks and techniques in advance.
Once you know more about this cybercrime threat, you must learn how to combat it for good. Preventing vishing scams would be effective if you will follow the following tips and suggestions:
Do not answer unknown phone numbers.
Not answering could be the most straightforward way to avoid vishing calls. Answer all legitimate calls from known numbers. So, whenever someone calls and doesn’t recognise their number, it would be better to ignore it. At some point, if it’s essential and one of your family members attempts to make a phone call using other phone numbers, then they will send a message and will verify their identity. That’s the time to answer the call and speak with them. However, it would help if you asked some queries that would adequately verify their identity. You don’t know exactly if the person you’re talking to is a member of our family.
Be cautious who you dial and call.
If you are searching for a specific phone number online, always be careful where you find them. Never call a number or answer phone calls that you only see on social media. Most scammers posted their unknown numbers on social media platforms, disguising someone else or a specific organisation to get your credit card details or access to your social security payments or company social security administration.
So, by the time you require their services, you will be redirected to a fake phone number or caller ID. Then, you think that you’re in the right person or company as you check your computer screen; so, you are confident enough to share some of your personal information even if these are unknown numbers.
Always verify or validate who you are speaking to
If you receive a caller ID or call from someone you don’t know, you should not talk first about anything important. It would be best if you verified whom you are speaking with. Obtain clear and concise answers from them and remember everything that they are saying.
If what they are saying is inconsistent or may have different words from the start, try to be sceptical. You will notice that a caller is lying because the ideas are varying. Ask several questions and note everything they talk about to know more about the caller’s intention and true nature.
Do not trust anything that they say.
For strangers, it must be a good response if you will not trust them at first. Remember that those scammers and cybercriminals are witty and expert enough in this field of scams since they usually do these illegal activities like a vishing attack. They can quickly get information from their victims by just asking even simple questions. Scammers, through phone calls, have a ready-made script that is being used throughout the rings. Then, they will highly encourage you to take the bait for you. That’s why being vigilant and cynical is the key to prevent this malicious activity or vishing attack.
Never give out personal information through phone calls.
If you receive an automated message or calls from strangers informing you that they are a bank representative, a government employee, police department, or even an agent from a well-recognised company, never provide sensitive information about you or your family members. It is a rule of thumb not to verify your identity as a receiver of the call since you don’t know them in the first place.
Always remember that if there are some problems or issues from your bank or your office, the bank representative or employer will request you to visit their office personally. You cannot share login details, phone numbers, bank account numbers, passwords, or anything through phone calls. This is essential to consider if you don’t want to know that your accounts are hacked or leaked sensitive information.
Never post your contact details and personal information on any social media platform.
If you have included your phone number and other personal details in your social media accounts, always make it private. There’s a button in the settings that allows you to put some pieces of information into private. So, you may choose the “Only Me” category about viewing your data to prevent vishing attacks.
With these tips and recommendations, you can now prevent fraudulent activities like vishing scams or identity theft. Always remember those things and share those insights with your family, friends, and loved ones. In this way, you can also extend your brightest notions about antivirus software, voice messages, trust caller id, social engineering tactics, caller claims, a vishing call, a federal trade commission, and common vishing scams or attacks.