What is vishing?

Vishing is an umbrella term for any scam that attempts to trick consumers into revealing personal information over the phone. Commonly, attackers will pose as representatives from legitimate companies or organizations and try to obtain information such as credit card numbers and Social Security numbers.

Who is at risk?

If you own a phone, you could be a target. Vishing scams can happen to just about anyone. Many criminals will use an automated service to call a massive group of phone numbers, hoping that even a few targets will answer the calls and divulge personal information.

How can you detect vishing fraud?

Fraudsters are getting better and better at disguising themselves. Now, more than ever, you’ll have to put in some extra effort when you’re screening calls. As a rule of thumb, don’t give out any information over the phone if you’re unsure of who’s calling. If you have any doubts at all, hang up. Credit cards, bills and bank statements should all feature customer service numbers that you can use to see if the call you just received was legitimate.

How else can you protect against vishing?

Forget about your caller ID. Many scammers know how to make it appear as if they’re calling from a regular number. Additionally, report any suspicious calls you receive to the Federal Trade Commission. As with Social Security scams, consumers can help to eliminate vishing scams by staying alert and informing the proper authorities.

You’ve fallen victim to an attack – now what?

If you get caught in a vishing scheme, the most important thing you can do is get in touch with your financial institutions and local authorities. As a valued customer, your bank or credit card company may have policies in place to help protect you against serious financial loss. Still, it’s up to you to move quickly and get in contact with the right people.

What is vishing vs. phishing or smishing?

Vishing fraud actually gets its name from phishing, the act of stealing sensitive information such as passwords through e-mail or other forms of electronic communication. It’s the same story with smishing, which describes the same type of fraud carried out via text message.

Vishing, phishing and smishing all have the potential to cause significant damage to your finances and your good name. Make sure you protect yourself over the phone just as you do online.