Vishing: the increasingly common telephone scam

Have they ever tried to scam you over the phone? In this post we tell you how to avoid vishing.

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Have you heard of vishing? It is the most modern version of the telephone scam and its name comes from the combination of the words “voice” and “phishing.” Generally, those who carry out this illegal practice use telephone calls to deceive people and obtain confidential information, such as credit card numbers, passwords or information staff.

Let’s put ourselves in a situation: you receive a call and the person on the other end claims to be from your bank or some recognized institution. They ask you for confidential information, claiming an urgent situation or promising some benefit. But beware! In reality, they are scammers who use persuasive tactics to trick you.

Do you want to know how to get rid of being another victim of vishing? Read this post and detect telephone scams in time!

How does this telephone fraud happen?

Vishing has been on the rise due to the increasing dependence on technology and telephone communication. Scammers have perfected their techniques and, taking advantage of the trust that people usually have when receiving a phone call, through subtle questions and deception techniques, they achieve access to sensitive information.

Although, at first, you may think that you will never be a victim of vishing because you are well informed and attentive to all signs of scams, these “telephone crime professionals” know very well how to carry out their actions. Vishing occurs when scammers make phone calls posing as legitimate institutions, such as banks, companies or government entities, in addition, they use persuasive tactics, each time more sophisticated, to obtain confidential information or persuade people to take harmful actions. A very recurrent technique is to apply social engineeringmanipulating emotions, and generating fear, empathy or enthusiasm, in order for the person to fall into the trap and reveal sensitive data. Additionally, they can spoof phone identities to make the call appear to come from a legitimate entity, making it difficult to identify the scam.

What is the ideal victim profile for telephone scammers?

Telephone scammers usually choose their victims to focus their efforts on them, so don’t be surprised if you receive email or social media alerts about strange access attempts. Scammers look for a vulnerable profile, including people easily persuaded or influenced by urgent or attractive information. They favour individuals who do not question the call’s legitimacy and may feel pressured or concerned about alleged financial or legal threats. Additionally, those with little technological experience or little education about these types of scams are often easy targets.

Detect a case of vishing early: 7 characteristics of telephone scams

Luckily, there are certain factors, common in all telephone scams, that can save us from theft.

  • Pressure and Urgency: Scammers try to create a sense of urgency to get you to act quickly, often threatening consequences if you don’t cooperate immediately.
  • Offers that are too good: promise prizes, benefits or irresistible offers that seem too convenient or implausible.
  • Request for sensitive information: request personal details, credit card numbers or passwords over the phone, which is unusual for legitimate organizations.
  • Lack of proper identification: do not provide clear or verifiable details about their identity or affiliation with a recognized institution.
  • Unsolicited calls: you receive unexpected calls from people claiming to be from banks, government entities or companies, without you having requested information.
  • Threats or coercion: use intimidation tactics or threats to force you to make quick decisions without thinking.

If you fall into the vishing trap, what should you do?

It is always advisable to know how to read between the lines and detect the scam in time, but, in case we fall for it, it is very important to take these measures immediately:

Contact your bank: Notify your bank about the scam to block credit or debit cards involved. It is also essential to review transactions and possibly initiate the claim process for unauthorized charges.

Report to authorities: Report fraud to the police or competent authority quickly. Provide details of the scam, including phone numbers, names used by the scammers, and any relevant information.

Communication with affected entities: If personal information has been disclosed, notify the entities involved, such as credit bureaus, to alert them of possible fraud attempts with your information.

Block suspicious calls: Consider blocking suspicious numbers using your phone company’s call-blocking features.

Learn to prevent: share your experience to alert others about possible similar scams. Also, be more cautious in the future, always being wary of unsolicited calls and avoiding providing personal information over the phone.

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