What is Vishing?
In this article, we will discuss what is Vishing and how to protect yourself against it.
Vishing is a combination of “voice” and “phishing.” The entire process of Vishing is when cybercriminals use telephonic calls to scam users. It is difficult to tell if a call is genuine or fake when you receive it.
Cyber attackers exploit this to ring targets and try to get them to reveal their sensitive and personal details.
Cyber attackers can ring hundreds of people in a single day using social engineering to pretend they are authentic sources. They can use voice-over-internet protocol technology (VoIP) to conceal their true voice. They may also spoof the caller ID to indicate that the victim is receiving a call from a trusted source, such as their bank.
What Are Some Common Examples Of Vishing?
To better understand what is Vishing and how to protect yourself against it, you need to first familiarize yourself with some common examples of Vishing attacks. Some common examples of Vishing attacks include:
1) Vishing Banking Scam
Vishing banking scams involve someone calling you pretending to be from your bank or another financial institution. They may claim that your account is in trouble or that they have received a payment.
To correct the problem, they might ask you for a money transfer to another account. They are simply taking your money.
2) Loan Scam
Cybercriminals will make offers that seem too good to be true and call targets. You could make a large investment and pay off all your debts quickly. Or get all your loans canceled at once.
Cybercriminals often ask for people to act fast and urgently. The victim is required to pay a small fee. You must know that legitimate investors and lenders do not offer these deals or initiate contact over the phone.
Consumers should not give bank account information over the telephone as a rule. They could be intercepted by hackers or others listening via the Internet.
3) Tax Scam
This scam is not unique. However, victims will get a prerecorded message informing them that there are problems with their tax returns. If they don’t return the call, a warrant will issue for their arrest. Their data will be added to a public list, or all their accounts will be blocked.
Cybercriminals combine this with a fake caller ID to make it appear like the IRS is calling.
4) Social Security Scam
Cybercriminals use phone calls to reach seniors most often. They pretend to be social security representatives to get financial information from victims, such as their bank account details or social security number. The goal is to steal their money or access their accounts later.
5) Tech Support Scam
The caller claims to be tech support for Microsoft or Amazon. The caller claims to have seen unusual activity in the victim’s account and is just trying to verify that they have the correct account details. Cybercriminals may request an email address to send a software update making the victim believe that this software update will protect them against cyberattacks, but instead, they install malware on the victim’s computer.
6) Telemarketing Scam
Cybercriminals use this opportunity to scam unsuspecting victims into giving confidential information. They will tell the victim that they have won a prize and some personal information is needed to process the prize and ensure that the victim receives it in time. They will use this information to carry out further attacks such as identity theft.
What Is The Cost Of Vishing Attacks?
According to FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) report 2020, social engineering crimes, including Vishing, had cost victims more than $54 million.
But in addition to financial loss, there is also an intangible cost associated with Vishing attacks. These include
1) Damage to reputation
Vendors who have been affected by a data breach can be put off working with companies that were the source of the vishing attack. You may not be able to send emails to the people you want to reach because some services will block your attempts to do so after a security breach.
2) Loss of trust
Perhaps you thought passwords and other security measures would protect you, so you deleted those client files and dragged them into the trash. Cyber thieves can recover files that you haven’t permanently deleted. Customers who are affected will likely take their business to a company that takes better care of their data.
3) Interruption of business
Vishing can cause a business to be in a survival mode that takes up much of everyone’s time, sometimes for several months. All business activities are delayed, including new product launches and marketing campaigns. The security team will often need to investigate, limit the risks as much as possible, and create a recovery plan.
How To Protect Yourself Against Vishing Attacks?
Now that we have covered what is Vishing, this section will go over how to protect yourself against it.
1) Take advantage of a caller-id application.
There are many VoIP options that make it easy to create fake numbers. Downloading an application that can identify numbers and detect those not connected to a standard phone is a great way to prevent fraudulent calls.
2) Take advantage of Multifactor Authentication.
This is an important step to reduce the chance of scammers accessing employee accounts. Before anyone can log into a website, they will need to be verified again, using a code sent by your phone.
3) Never click on unknown links or pop-up prompts.
You should never click on links or answer any questions if you get an automated message or text message. You may receive messages such as: “Press button 2, provide your user ID, to be removed from our list”, or “Press this link to get an 80% discount on our latest shoe collections”, or “Say “yes” to speak with an operator,” which will then ask for personal information that could lead to cybercrime.
4) Always verify the number you are calling.
Before calling a phone number you receive in an email or pop-up message, verify it. If you receive a message from your bank asking for information, it is wise to verify the information.
5) Never provide personal or confidential information over the phone.
Banks will never ask for your debit or credit card information, data on an ID card, or exact address. If you are unsure, call the bank and inform them that confidential information has been requested by someone claiming they represent their organization.
6) Make sure sensitive data is securely destroyed.
The trash can on your computer is not secure, and the files may still be there. You can find dozens of companies to help you retrieve those files by doing a simple internet search. A digital file shredder can permanently erase sensitive client, financial, personal, and legal information.
It would be best if you were suspicious of anyone asking you for login information or asking for personal or account information. Legitimate companies will never make such requests over the telephone.
This type of fraud has become more common with the advent of new technology and digital advancements. The first step in preventing this is to be aware of vishing attacks. Learn how they occur and what steps you should take to avoid them. It is vital to spread awareness as many people are unaware of these scams and end up in serious trouble.
Remember this simple rule. You should immediately halt any phone conversation in which a person or automated message is communicating with you if –
- They claim to be representing some large organization.
- They request verification of account information such as username and password.
- Ask personal information, such as date of birth or Social Security Number, is required.
- Requests your banking or credit card information.
- They need to have access to your computer.
Remember, whenever in doubt, always assume the worst. Stop the call and look up the phone number of the entity. Suppose you suspect that caller-id has been spoofed. In that case, it is best to contact the legitimate organization proactively and let them know about the call you received from someone claiming to be from their organization and asking for personal information.
Although it may require some extra effort on your part, it will go a long way in keeping your identity, accounts, and money protected.
Hope you found this article helpful and now have a much better understanding of what is Vishing and how to protect yourself against it.
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