Watch Out for Vishers
In recent months, there have been countless news stories of
individuals falling victim to schemes claiming financial information is needed
to clear up an IRS notice, unfreeze bank accounts, or to prevent an arrest
warrant. These stories usually end the
same way; with the individual disclosing confidential financial information, or
even sending money to the perpetrator, only to find their identity stolen,
accounts hacked, and no recourse to undo the damage. This scenario demonstrates vishing,
a social engineering attempt over the telephone to obtain your personal information.
Vishing is when an individual, or a group of individuals attempts to gain
access to your personal information or convinces you to give them credit card
numbers or bank account information. The attempt can be straight forward, or
they may be vishing for other information such as social security numbers,
healthcare information, or to get you to say “yes” on a recorded line.
The Visher has several ways to identify basic information on
an individual, including:
- Social media accounts (Facebook,
- Search engines (Google, Bing,
- Free / paid background check
services (Truthfinder, Spokeo, etc.)
Once the visher gathers basic information, he/she will call
their target and attempt to obtain your
8 Ways to Protect Yourself from Becoming a Victim of Vishing
What can you do to protect your information and prevent
falling victim vishing? The number one rule is to be suspicious of every call received.
In addition, there are some tips to
avoid being a victim, including:
- Do Not Disclose Personal Information
Never give out personal
information over the telephone, including social security numbers, bank account
numbers, driver’s license numbers, website log-in credentials, or credit card
- Call Them Back on a Verified Number
If you believe the caller is
legitimate, tell them you will call them back. Do not call back on the number
they gave you but look up the number to verify whether it is legitimate and
call the resulting number.
- Do Not Answer Unknown Numbers
If the call comes from an unknown
number, do not answer. If the person really needs to talk with you, they will
leave a voicemail.
- Listen Carefully Before Responding
Listen to the call first before
responding. There are really smart voice response systems that seem like a
person is calling, but in truth it is a robocall. The robocall is recording
everything you say to see what they can use. The word “yes” is often all they
- Never Say "Yes"
Never use the word “yes” to answer
a call or respond to your name. Answer with another affirmative word such as “correct”.
Vishers often record conversations and will use the recorded voice to obtain
information from a voice response system.
- Google Search
Perform a Google search of the
phone number. If the Visher is using the same set of numbers to perpetrate repeated
scams, a simple search may identify the
caller as a scammer.
- Trust Your Gut
If the call does not feel right, there is
noise in the background, or if the connection is poor, it is likely a scam.
- When in Doubt, Hang Up
It is not bad etiquette to hang up
on a caller if the call does not feel right or if the caller is requesting
It is also important to remember that the IRS will not call
you. They will send a letter requesting you to call them. In addition, credit
card companies, banks, and financial institutions will never ask for your
account numbers, logon IDs, or passwords over the telephone. If they do, hang
up, and call the number listed on your invoice.
Vishers are getting extremely sophisticated with their
attacks. Keep yourself from becoming a victim through vigilance and good
practices. Remember to never disclose
your personal or company financial information, no matter who asks.
We hope you find this information valuable. As always, we are here to help. Contact Tim Grace with any questions about how to protect yourself from these types of scams or to start a conversation about protecting your financial information.