Stay One Step Ahead: How to Protect Yourself from Vishing Attacks
Explore the growing threat of vishing, a voice phishing method employed by cybercriminals to extract personal and financial data over the phone. Learn about common vishing scams, identify the telltale signs of such attacks, and discover proactive measures to protect yourself and your business.
By Daniel Kelley
Nov 06, 2023 12:00 pm
The Rising Threat of Vishing Attacks
In today's digital age, cybercriminals are persistently devising new methods to identify vulnerabilities and steal sensitive information. Vishing, a blend of 'voice' and 'phishing,' involves scammers using social engineering techniques to deceive victims into disclosing personal and financial information over the phone. The prevalence of vishing attacks has been increasing, presenting a substantial threat to both individuals and businesses.
How Vishing Attacks Work
Vishing attacks typically follow a specific pattern. The attacker typically impersonates a trusted organisation, such as a bank, government agency, or even a tech support representative. They often use Caller ID spoofing techniques to make it appear as though the call is coming from a legitimate source.
Once they have established contact, they employ a variety of tactics to extract confidential information such as credit card numbers, passwords, or social security numbers. These tactics may include asking for verification of personal details, claiming that there has been a security breach, or even offering enticing rewards or prizes.
Scammers often create a sense of urgency or fear to compel their victims to act quickly. They may claim there has been suspicious activity on your account, or that your personal information has been compromised. By instilling fear or panic, the attacker hopes to bypass your rational thinking and prompt you to disclose sensitive data without considering the consequences.
The Impact of Vishing Attacks
The consequences of falling victim to a vishing attack can be devastating, both on a personal and a business level.
Personal consequences of vishing: For individuals, the repercussions of a successful vishing attack can range from financial loss to identity theft. Your hard-earned money can easily be syphoned off from your bank account or charged to your credit card by the fraudsters. Furthermore, your personal information can be used to commit identity theft, opening up a whole new world of fraudulent activities.
Business consequences of vishing: Businesses also face significant risks from vishing attacks. Not only can they suffer financial losses due to fraudulent transactions, but their reputation and customer trust can also be severely impacted. A breach of customer information can lead to a loss of credibility and can damage the long-term relationship a brand has worked hard to build with its clients.
Recognising Common Vishing Scams
Vishing scammers employ a range of tactics to deceive individuals. Here’s some of the most common vishing scams to be aware of:
Supposed fraud or suspicious activity on your credit card or bank account Scammers might claim that there has been fraudulent activity on your credit card or bank account. They will then request your account information to resolve the issue.
Overdue or unpaid taxes: Scammers pose as representatives from tax authorities, such as HMRC, and claim that you owe overdue or unpaid taxes. They will then threaten you with legal action unless you provide personal information or make immediate payments.
Tech support: Scammers often pose as technical support representatives and claim there’s an issue with your computer or software. They will request remote access to your device or ask for personal information to resolve the supposed problem.
Customs or delivery issues: Scammers might inform you that there’s an issue with an international package stuck at customs or problems with a delivery. They will request personal information or a payment to resolve the issue.
Emergency response benefit relief fund: During times of crisis, scammers may take advantage of government relief funds and pose as representatives offering financial assistance. They will request personal information or payments to access the supposed relief funds.
Safeguarding Yourself from Vishing Attacks
It’s crucial to take proactive measures to protect yourself and your organisation from falling victim to these types of attacks. Here’s some tips to safeguard against vishing attacks:
Don't trust caller ID: As revealed by the 2022 iSpoof fraud investigation , caller IDs can be manipulated to display false information. Scammers often use this technique to pose as legitimate organisations, making their attempts more believable. Don’t trust caller ID alone as proof of the caller's authenticity. When in doubt, hang up and call the organisation directly through the contact information available on their official website.
Watch out for delays in the call: Often, international scam calls are routed through various countries, causing a noticeable delay between your responses and the caller's reaction. If you notice unusual pauses during the conversation, it could be a sign of a vishing attack.
Avoid answering unknown calls: While it might be tempting to answer all incoming calls, a good rule of thumb is to refrain from answering calls from unknown numbers. If the call is important, the caller will likely leave a message, and you can return the call at your convenience.
Conduct a quick Google search: A quick Google search of the caller's phone number can often reveal if others have reported it as suspicious. Look out for user reviews and reports on websites like 'Who Calls Me' or '800notes' . These platforms allow individuals to share their experiences with potential scam numbers, providing you a heads up about the caller's intent.
Don't hesitate to verify: Trust your instincts. If something seems off or too good to be true, it probably is. Don't hesitate to question the caller's claims or verify the information independently. You can do this by contacting the company or organisation they claim to represent through an official contact number or email address.
A Proactive Defence Against Vishing
In wrapping up, it's evident that the digital landscape presents a constant battle against innovative scams like vishing. Recognising the tactics, understanding the potential impact, and actively employing protective measures is key to staying a step ahead of cybercriminals.
Take Your Next Steps
Don't let vishing scams disrupt your business. Take action with Keepnet Labs' Vishing Simulator , an AI-powered solution that offers realistic simulations to train your team against voice phishing attacks. Start securing your business today. Click here to receive a free trial now!
Additionally, take a look at our Vishing Simulation Campaign Manager in action below: