There’s good news and bad news. The good news: advances in technology have changed our lives in many positive ways. The bad news: crooks keep pace with technological innovations and adjust their scams accordingly. One of the many technology-based criminal scams is ‘vishing’.

What is vishing?

Impersonating a person or legitimate business to scam people isn’t a new thing. Vishing is simply a new twist on an old routine. In fact, vishing has been around almost as long as internet phone service. The word ‘vishing’ is a combination of ‘voice’ and ‘phishing.’ Phishing is the practice of using deception to get you to reveal personal, sensitive, or confidential information. However, instead of using email, regular phone calls, or fake websites like phishers do, vishers use an internet telephone service (VoIP).

Using a combination of scare tactics and emotional manipulation, they try to trick people into giving up their information. These vishers even create fake Caller ID profiles (called ‘Caller ID spoofing’) which makes the phone numbers seem legitimate. The goal of vishing is simple: steal your money, your identity, or both.

Common Vishing Techniques

By spoofing a legitimate phone number, scammers lead people to believe the call is legitimate. At the same time, since you know that they can do this, you can’t even trust Caller ID. Yet even if you don’t answer the phone, they leave voice messages to provoke a response – you’ll return their call and give up your information.

Vishing Examples

Vishing can take several forms. One form targets your bank account or credit card account. For example, you might get a call from with a message such as:

Your account has been compromised. Please call this number to reset your password. 

The visher hopes you’ll hear the message and panic. Typically, when you dial the number they leave, you hear an automated recording which asks for information like bank account numbers and/or other sensitive information.

Another example is a phone call about a free offer or telling you that you’ve won a prize. But in order to redeem the freebie, you must first pay for shipping and handling. A third example is a call saying you’ve won a prize such as a cruise or Disney vacation. To claim your prize, you’re told to first pay a redemption fee. Often, they ask you to give your credit card number over the phone.

Other vishing scams include things like:

  • Unsolicited offers for credit and loans
  • Exaggerated investment opportunities
  • Charitable requests for urgent causes
  • Extended car warranty scams
  • Social Security Cancellation
  • Police Warrants

What is vishing banking?

Vishing banking scams are a vishing attack that involve a call from someone who says they’re from your bank or some other financial organization. They may tell you that there is a problem with your account or with a payment from your account. They might ask you to transfer money to a different account to correct the problem. However, all they’re doing is taking your money.

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