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What is Vishing and How to Detect it

Lately, more often than not, when your phone rings it’s an unrecognized number and an unfamiliar voice on the other end. If this voice is telling you that there is an urgency for you to share personal information and the situation is very out of the ordinary, this is oftentimes what is called vishing.

Vishing  is a phone scan that is designed to convince you to share personal information and financial details. This phone scam can appear to come from a trusted source but is definitely not! As technology and phones become more and more advanced, so is the ability of scammers to conduct this kind of scam. Scammers can place hundreds of calls at a time using a voice over and can falsify their caller ID to make it appear as if the call is coming from a trusted source such as your bank or a hospital.

Vishing themes often relate to emotions such as worry and fear. Two common themes of vishing include the compromising of your social security number, or an arrest warrant that has been issued in your name. 

In a social security related vishing scam, scammers will call claiming t o be from the Social Security administration and threaten to either suspend or cancel your social security number if you don’t do something in return (i.e. call a number).  An example of a compromised social security number vishing call is shown below:

A issue of an arrest warrant vishing call examples:

Here are 4 different ways to identify a possible vishing call: 

  1. The number the call is coming from is unfamiliar,  the ID is unfamiliar, or there is no caller ID.
  2. The caller claims to be calling from or working at a bank, the Social Security Administration, or the caller claims that by calling them, they are in a position to make the problem they have presented you with resolved.
  3. There is a sense of urgency and importance for you to act on whatever problem is being presented.
  4. Personal and/or financial information is being requested.

The best and easiest way to avoid being the victim of scams, like vishing, is to educate yourself so you are able to identify key factors that point to something being real or a scam. You should never give any personal or financial information to anyone over the phone unless you have pre-arranged the exchange.

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