Vishing, also known as phone phishing, is similar to phishing and is executed through fake telephone calls. Unlike other types of phishing where an email message is used, vishers use telephone to execute their fraudulent objectives. The vishers usually appear as genuine but will have malicious intent of gaining access to your confidential and financial information. So, let us check how to identify and how to prevent vishing? Before that, let us look at a few characteristics of vishers:
- Usually have information about you collected from various sources, such as your name, address, and mobile number.
- Requests you to share more information, such as your card number or an OTP that was just generated.
- Usually target elderly people as they may be less tech savvy.
Real time case
One of the popular examples of vishing is the case of Emma Watson, a British business woman. The bank representative made a call to Emma and informed that her account has been compromised. The bank representative requested Emma to immediately transfer the amount from her compromised account to a new account the bank had set up for her. The new account was nothing but the fraudster’s account. The bank representative appeared genuine. Fearing financial loss, Emma immediately transferred the money (approximately £100,000) to the fraudster’s account.
How to protect?
Let us now check how to prevent vishing. To do so, adhere to the following points:
Do not share confidential information: If the caller asks for confidential information, such as your bank user ID, account number or credit card number, it will surely be a visher. The representatives of reputed financial institution, such as your bank, will never request confidential information through telephone.
Never share OTP: OTP is used as a two-factor authentication for transactions. You should never share your OTP with anyone. Sharing OTP may enable vishers to perform transactions from your accounts.
Cross-check with customer care: If you suspect vishing, disconnect the call and then make a call to the relevant customer support to verify the genuineness.
Contact police: If you have already been a victim of vishing, or identified a possible vishing attempt, contact the nearest police station and lodge a complaint.
Use caller ID app: Use an app that provides the caller ID feature to detect scams and frauds, such as the Truecaller app.
Never fall for threat or pressure: When you attend a call from an unknown number, be patient and listen carefully. Also try to understand what they are saying or asking you. Never fall for any threat or time pressure. For example, a visher may say that he is from Income Tax department and there is a warrant against you, and pay immediately to a specific account to avoid arrest.