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How To Identify And Prevent Vishing Scams

As the work world is increasingly digitized, there’s an ongoing bombardment of emails, texts and phone calls to employees from vendors, sales reps, and a variety of business contacts. For many people, their job is almost entirely dealing with digital communication at their workplace. While some of these messages are legitimate, we’re seeing a rise in fraudulent communication from hackers with the intention of getting sensitive data from employees either through clicking a link or volunteering info over the phone. Voice fishing, or vishing, the sneaky relative of phishing, uses phone calls and voicemail to trick people into revealing sensitive details.

This blog post dives deep into vishing, exploring its prevalence, how it works, and most importantly, how to protect yourself from falling victim to these scams.

What is Vishing?

Vishing, short for “voice phishing,” is an attack where fraudsters use phone calls (or voicemails) to impersonate trustworthy entities like banks, credit card companies, government agencies, or even tech support. Their goal is to manipulate you into divulging personal information like account numbers, passwords, or Social Security numbers.

Think of it as a phishing attempt, but instead of clicking a malicious link in an email, you’re tricked into giving away your information verbally.

How Common is Vishing?

Unfortunately, vishing is a prevalent threat. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported over 267,000 vishing complaints in 2022 alone, resulting in a staggering loss of over $383 million. These numbers paint a grim picture, highlighting the effectiveness of vishing tactics and the importance of awareness. And so many people in workplaces aren’t aware of this tactic compared to say, phishing and email spam. At first glance, it seems to sophisticated to be a tactic, especially if someone isn’t a native speaker in the employee’s country, but it exists nonetheless and it should be on people’s radar as a threat to company information security.

How Does Vishing Work?

Vishing scams follow a well-rehearsed script, which could be to your advantage if you know what to look for:

  • Creating a Sense of Urgency: The caller often creates a sense of urgency by claiming suspicious activity on your account, a security breach, or an urgent payment due. This puts you on edge, making you more susceptible to their requests.
  • Impersonation: Scammers often impersonate trusted figures from banks, credit card companies, or government agencies. They might even use caller ID spoofing to make their number appear legitimate.
  • Social Engineering Tactics: Using smooth-talking and manipulative tactics, the caller plays on your fear or sense of duty to trick you into cooperating. They might ask you to “verify” your account information or download remote access software to “fix” a problem.


Specific Examples of Vishing Scams

Here are some common vishing scams to be aware of:

  • The IRS Scam: The caller claims you owe back taxes and threatens legal action if you don’t pay immediately.
  • The Tech Support Scam: The caller claims to be from a tech company and warns you of malware on your device. They then offer to “fix” the problem for a fee, often requiring remote access to your computer.
  • The Bank Scam: The caller claims suspicious activity on your bank account and asks you to “verify” your information to prevent fraud.


Protecting Yourself from Vishing Scams

Knowledge is power. Here are some key strategies to shield yourself from vishing scams:

  • Be Wary of Unsolicited Calls: Never give out personal information over the phone unless you initiated the call yourself.
  • Don’t Trust Caller ID: Technology allows scammers to spoof legitimate phone numbers. Don’t rely solely on caller ID to verify a caller’s identity.
  • Verify Information Independently: If the caller claims to be from your bank or credit card company, hang up and call them back directly using the phone number on your account statement or the company’s website.
  • Don’t Give Out Personal Information Over the Phone: Legitimate institutions won’t pressure you into disclosing sensitive information over the phone.
  • Beware of Urgency Tactics: Don’t be rushed into making decisions. A real company will understand if you need time to verify their claims.
  • Never Download Unknown Software: Scammers might ask you to download remote access software to “fix” a problem. Never download software from unverified sources.
  • Report Suspicious Calls: Report vishing attempts to the FTC here. 


Empowering Yourself Against Vishing

Vishing scams can be sophisticated, but by staying vigilant and informed, you can significantly reduce your risk of falling victim to their tactics. Remember, these tactics rely on catching you off guard so thinking critically and taking a step back can be crucial in these circumstances to prevent a security disaster. By being aware of the common red flags and taking the time to verify information independently, you can turn the tables on scammers and protect your personal information.

Additional Tips:

  • Consider registering your phone number with the National Do Not Call Registry to reduce unwanted telemarketing calls, but be aware that scammers often disregard these registries.
  • Stay updated on the latest scamming tactics out there and educate your team to be on the lookout for them


Get In Touch With BNC To Get Started

how to tell if your pc has been hackedYour company may be on the lookout for more comprehensive IT solutions than just secure browsing, and we’re here to help. If you’re looking for an managed service provider in Dallas or Denver with experienced IT/Security consultants, BNC will work closely with your team to evaluate your specific needs and provide tailored solutions that strengthen your cybersecurity defenses. Don’t wait until a cyber incident occurs to realize the importance of comprehensive cybersecurity measures. Contact BNC managed service provider in Dallas & Denver today to begin your journey toward a safer and more secure digital future. Together, we can safeguard your business and protect it from the ever-present threats in the world of cybercrime.



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