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Ask the Expert: What is Vishing

Getting A Lot of Phone Calls From the Bank? That Could Be Vishing

Ask the Expert: What is Vishing

You’ve probably heard of scammers targeting people with phishing emails, but what about vishing?

Vishing (or voice phishing) is similar to a phishing attack, but it is conducted over the phone. Here’s how it works: Scammers call targets from a phony (or spoofed) phone number, typically claiming to be representatives of banks or financial organizations alerting the target to an account issue. Other methods include loan offers, employment opportunities, and debt collectors, but the goals are generally the same: get the target to provide information about their financial accounts or send money.

“Vishing is how hackers take advantage of phone number databases. Scammers may call posing as a representative from your bank or say they’re calling from the IRS (to confirm your Social Security number). They may claim to be calling for Microsoft (an issue with your subscription to Office requires them log into your computer remotely). They want access to your personal or financial information. They are going to try to install malware on your devices,” says CyberScout Founder Adam Levin. “Don’t let them.”

A report published by the Stanford Center on Longevity found that senior citizens are 34% more likely to be the target of scams. The grandparent scam remains the most common form of attack. A senior citizen is called by someone pretending to be a grandchild needing immediate financial help (the most often requests are for money to be wired or retail gift cards).

The next time you pick up the phone, be careful. Don’t provide any information unless you’ve initiated the call. 

 

By Travis Taylor

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