With recent times, technology has grown (for the hackers as well) that many subtle ways of entrapping you and robbing you out of your reputation and money have been invented. Vishing is one of these hacking techniques where you are not able to tell if a number calling you is legitimate or not.
In a vishing attempt, the hackers are able to spoof your mom, wife or another loved one’s number and try to lure you into an enticing (but fake) story so as to make you send a large amount of money to save them. Let’s learn what is vishing, what types of it are out there and how do you protect against them.
Vishing comes from two words, “voice,” and “phishing.” It is a type of phishing attack where the hacker or scammer tries to psychologically trigger you into acting fast to save your loved one’s life. They may spoof your girlfriend/boyfriend’s number and tell you that she/he has met with an accident and now you need to transfer some amount of money to pay for their hospital treatment. They simply urge that sense of urgency in you to act fast before it’s too late.
There have been multiple vishing attempts where the scammers were successful in getting the receiver’s bank account number, credit details and other sensitive information, just by playing with emotions. But you should also keep in mind that vishing is not just limited to voice calls. Hackers and scammers may even use other platforms such as Skype, emails and frequently used messaging platforms.
Common types of vishing:
While hackers and scammers may be coming with new and different types of vishing attempts, these are the most common types of vishing attempts you should keep your eye out for:
1- Lottery calls
This is one of the oldest vishing tricks under the hackers and scammer’s hats. They call you pretending to be a member of some enterprise and congratulate you on winning a lottery. Often they trick you by saying that your number was selected to compete in a lottery and it has won a handsome amount in that lottery.
Now it may seem that not many people would fall for this bogus scheme but unfortunately, the truth can be further from it. A large number of people do fall for the trap and end up sending a small to a large amount of money in the hopes of getting back a 10 times bigger amount. They can also pretend to be a travel agency offering you a free trip or, a car agency offering you free insurance.
2- Government calls
This is one of the most terrifying vishing attempts as the hackers try to play with your fear by convincing you that you haven’t been paying taxes or you have a history of unpaid taxes which you need to pay right then and there or you might face charges for it. They try to budge you until you either send them money or share with them your social security number.
3- Support from tech provider
This might be the most convincing type of vishing attempt. The hackers and scammers pretend to be a representative of your device provider and convince you to install software that will fix the device issues or upgrade it to have more features.
They will try to be as convincing as possible thus entrapping you into their trick. Once you fall for the trap and install the software or allow them to have remote access to your device, you will end up losing your most private and sensitive information (stored in the device) to the hackers.
4- Call from your loved one
As discussed previously, in this kind of attempt, the hackers and scammers gather data about your loved ones. This is not impossible regarding the fact that the information is easily available through social media platforms.
Once they collect enough information, they will call you to inform you that your wife, girlfriend, grandson or other loved one is in danger and you have to send some money immediately so that they can be saved. They will share as many details as possible to make the story more convincing.
How to prevent vishing?
While it may seem that vishing is really difficult to identify, there are several steps you may take to prevent vishing:
- Be calm: The hackers and scammers won’t be able to trap you if you are calm and in control of your nerves. Once you give up, they will easily trap you.
- Don’t answer unknown calls: While some of the calls may be spoofed, not every call is. They might be calling you from an unknown private (computer-generated) number. Don’t answer such calls.
- Call for authenticity: If someone calls you and pretends to be from your bank or garage, call your bank directly. Ask them about the authenticity of the call.
- Don’t overshare: While this is a bit difficult, the more you share on the internet, the more you are prone to hacking attempts. So, practice limited social sharing.
- Be aware: You should always keep in mind that no legitimate authority or company will ask for your sensitive information over the phone. That is why the alarm should go off as soon as someone does that.