Introduction

Vishing has evolved to be one of the major threats that many people have been facing irrespective of their location, background, and other demographic factors. The word ‘vishing’ has been derived from two different worlds, which are ‘voice’ and ‘phishing’. It refers to the attacks that people face through phone calls.

Although most of the time these kinds of scam calls are set up with automated responders, there are several instances when human operators have been spotted to do it with the same efficiency. On the other hand, phishing basically refers to a cybercrime where an individual or a bunch of people pose as an institution and convince other people to share sensitive, personal and confidential data including their bank details through phone calls, text messages, emails, and other mediums.

In this article let us look at:

  1. What is vishing?
  2. Vishing examples
  3. Common four types of vishing techniques
  4. What is vishing banking?
  5. What is vishing on the computer?
  6. How to recognize vishing scams?
  7. How to protect yourself from vishing attacks?
  8. How to report such vishing attacks?
  9. How to recover after a vishing attack?

1. What is vishing?

Although it is not possible to narrow down the entire vishing process or define vishing and give a definition, it can be considered as a phone scam that is made by a bunch of attackers who convince or somehow force people to reveal their sensitive, personal, and confidential data over the phone calls. The number of these attacks has been increasing with the growing rate of digital advancements in a parallel manner.

Therefore, getting acquainted with vishing meaning and getting into the depths of meaning of it are some of the major things which cannot be overlooked by any individual at this point in time. Phishing and vishing are both the same kind of scams that cause huge monetary trouble for people.

These scammers basically use social engineering to make the victims reveal their personal and confidential data during a vishing phone call. A vishing attack is unpredictable and is made with a lot of pre-planning which ends up causing huge trouble for companies and people in general. It is done using the internet and phone calls and very often it takes place through desktops as well.

Scammers make use of fake websites from where they operate the entire process and make people reveal the information they need. Some of the most common vishing techniques include spoofing an original phone number and making calls so that the victims fail to recognize if that is an actual caller or a scammer; if this method fails, the scammers often go on leaving voice mails which would ultimately convince the victim to call them back. Therefore, the process of cyber vishing is quite versatile and diverse in its nature and modus operandi.

2. Vishing examples

There are various methods and examples considering the vast range in which this scam takes place. Sometimes when the scammers fail to evoke a response by making phone calls, they leave text messages and voice mails saying something similar to “your bank account has been disabled due to some reason. Kindly call us back to reset your account.” These kinds of messages create panic and anxiety which eventually ends in making the victim call the number and give up the required information. Loan and investment offers are also made by these scammers as a part of the vishing techniques. Tax scams, social security scams and other types of vishing attacks are quite common these days.

One of the most common attacks that have been going around for quite a while now is the phone calls which tell you that you have won some prize or hamper and in order to claim your prize you would be asked to call a certain number. These scam calls are made by robotic voices most of the time. However, there is no particular type as to how these vishing calls take place.

Some of the most common types of vishing scams include but are not limited to voice cloning, phone fraud, VoIP spam, and more.

3. Common four types of vishing techniques

There are a variety of techniques and tactics in the universe of vishing scams. They perform the range of mostly automated shotgun attacks aimed at several possible victims in the hope of a few bites of laser scams aimed at a particular, high-value objective.

Below mentioned are the four most common techniques.

  • Wardialing: The most common vishing method is known as ‘Wardialing,’ where hundreds or thousands of automated calls are made to hundreds or thousands of numbers. The possible target (or their voicemail) may get a recording threatening them to start calling back the scammers. The vishers also say that they are some government entity, bank, or loan union. Wardialing generally focuses on a particular area code and uses a local institution’s name to look for actual customers.
  • VoIP: VoIP facilitates the development of and hiding behind false numbers for malicious hackers. These numbers are very difficult to trace and can be used to establish telephone numbers that appear local or use a prefix of 1-800. Some cybercriminals can produce VoIP numbers that look like they are from the government, local hospitals and police departments.
  •  Caller ID Spoofing: Like VoIP, in this vishing attack, the hackers hide behind fake telephone numbers/customer IDs. They may list their name as unknown or claim to be a legitimate phone call using an identification such as the government, tax office, police, etc.
  • Dumpster Diving: The method of collecting valid telephone numbers is easily done by digging up dumpsters behind banks, office buildings and random organizations. Often hackers may find sufficient relevant information to perpetrate a vishing attack on the victim.

Apart from the aforementioned four common vishing techniques, there is another variant that includes creating an alert from your OS about technical problems using pop-up windows on your computer screen that are often planted by malware. The victim is instructed to contact “Microsoft Support” or something similar, and a phone number is given. That puts them in tune with the visher who by using a combination of real and automated voice responses in the conversation and get the information out.

4. What is vishing banking?

Vishing banking scams refers to an attack that constitutes calling from someone who claims that they are from your bank or some other financial institution. They will inform you that your account is having a problem or that your account is being credited. They might ask to transfer money to another account to solve the issue. 

5. What is vishing on the computer?

Vishing fraud has been taking place since the time internet phone calls came into existence. But its techniques are not just limited to those, they are quite diverse. The major way in how vishing in computer occurs is through the mediums which aim at conducting video and conference calls such as skype, zoom, and the like.

Scammers use these applications to make the victims reveal their personal and confidential information which would later be used for their own benefit. The major element of conducting vishing fraud is manipulation and trickery which causes these crimes. Vishing social engineering is the prime source through which scammers perform this fraudulent act. 

6. How to recognize vishing scams?

The main way of avoiding vishing calls would be to ignore them. However, new and advanced methods do not allow people to understand whether or not it is a scam call. Therefore, the wise thing would be rejecting such loan and prize offers without any prior information or participation from your side. 

Scammers tend to hurry while convincing you to share your card details or other sensitive information. This kind of fraudulent behavior must not be overlooked in order to avoid such scams.

The first thing these attackers do is to ask you to confirm your personal details through which they get to know every basic detail about you which may and will be used against you in the future. Therefore, a preventive step would be to avoid revealing private information during phone calls with strangers. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to understand what is vishing in cybercrime.

7. How to protect yourself from vishing attacks?

Besides knowing how to search for red flags and vishing works, you can also:

  • Register to  National Do Not Call Registry: It is free to add your home or cell phone to this list and inform telemarketers you don’t want their telephone calls. However, some types of entities such as charities and political parties may still call you, and it won’t prevent people from illegally reaching your number.
  • Do not answer calls from unknown numbers: Although each telephone call can be enticing, just let them communicate to voicemail. Caller IDs may be faked, meaning that you do not know who is calling. Go through your texts and make up your mind if you call your person back.
  • Hang up: As soon as you suspect that it is a scam phone call, don’t feel compelled to carry on a polite conversation. Just hang up and block that number.

8. How to report such vishing attacks?

The rate at which these kinds of scam techniques are expanding is really scary and one should not take it lightly as long as they want to protect themselves along with their organizations from external attacks such as phishing and vishing. Whenever you receive such scam calls, the first thing you should consider doing is contacting the actual financial authority and informing them about the incident.

If the scammer says something like they have called from the bank, the receiver should immediately contact and ask the bank executive if they are the ones who made the call in the first place. If you have already shared any personal information with someone who might be a scammer, report it to the respective bank managers and ask them to block your credit or debit card from making any such transactions in the future.

9. How to recover after a vishing attack?

You can first contact your financial institution if you’ve shared your financial data with someone you later thought to be a scammer. If it is your issuer of credit card, bank or contact for Medicare, call and request the cancellation of fraudulent transactions and block potential transactions. You will also need to update your account credentials to make sure others do not use your current accounts.

The freezing of your credit reports will help ensure that no one can open new accounts on your behalf. Then file a complaint with the local police station and National Cyber Crime Cell. 

Conclusion

With various digital and technological advancements, this kind of fraudulence has also become more common. However, the major step to prevent this is to beware of phishing & vishing attacks, how they take place, and the steps one should make in order to prevent these calls. Spreading awareness is extremely important since many people tend to remain unaware of such scams and eventually end up getting in trouble.

So, have you made up your mind to make a career in Cyber Security? Visit our Master Certificate in Cyber Security (Red Team) for further help. It is the first program in offensive technologies in India and allows learners to practice in a real-time simulated ecosystem, that will give them an edge in this competitive world.

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