What is Vishing Telecom Fraud?

Rapid technology growth is ensuring financial safety, but fraudsters too are coming up with new techniques to exploit the loopholes in the system. Recent example is “Vishing”, a new form of financial fraud which is gaining popularity these days.

Term “Vishing” is derived from combination of “voice” and “phishing”. This technique relies on phishing and uses telephone calls instructing the victims to divulge personal and financially sensitive information. In this article, we will try to understand Vishing techniques and how to save ourselves from such attacks.

What is Vishing?

"Vishing" is a fraudulent activity where fraudster coerces unsuspecting persons to divulge personal and financial information over the phone. Sensitive data collected through vishing attacks are then used to commit identity theft and financial frauds. Vishing techniques are relatively new and more sophisticated as compared to phishing attacks.

Famous Vishing Techniques

Two modes of communication are used for initiating vishing attacks. First one is using telephone or VOIP calls and the second one is via emails persuading the victim to make a call on some telephone number. Let’s discuss them out one by one:

Telephone or VOIP calls – Fraudsters make direct calls on victim’s number and solicit personal and financial information posing as bank officials. This call can also be an automated call. Instructions on the call might be quite similar to what you get to hear while making a call to customer care number (Press 1 for English, 2 for Hindi etc). Soon these automated instructions start gathering sensitive information (like enter your 3 digit credit card CVV number). Now a days, fraudsters are also using VOIP calls so as to hide their trail.

Emails – Emails are also used to initiate vishing attacks. Fraudster send emails to innocent victims posing as bank officials and instruct them to call on a number stating their bank accounts have been compromised. Once victim calls on these numbers fraudster tries to collect the data directly or through automated instructions. Once fraudster gets all the data, he sweeps the entire money from victims bank/credit card account.

How to Protect Yourself from Vishing Attacks

There are few steps you need to take to help protect yourself from vishing attacks.

  1. Hang Up – Easiest way of protection from vishing attacks is to simply hang up the phone call soliciting sensitive information like banking password and CVV numbers.
  1. Be aware and educate yourself regarding new methods of fraud – The more you know about the modus operandi of various frauds, less is the chance of getting trapped. Gather information regarding new fraudulent techniques from your bank as they maintain database of the same.
  1. Be sceptic about automated calls and caller ID’s as they can be tampered with – Speak only with live persons if personal and financially sensitive information is being asked for. Do not entertain random calls. Call should have a definite purpose and make sure you have raised request with the customer care regarding the same. Mind you, if you have not raised any request or complain with the customer care recently, do not expect a call from them.
  1. Keep record of the information you shared on the call together with the phone number or area code of the caller, and report this to your bank if in doubt.
  1. Never make a call on customer care numbers given in an email. Pick the customer care number from official bank website.

What to do if you have been tricked

It’s not recommended to reveal your confidential financial data card number, PIN, validity date of credit cards, CVV, or passwords to anyone under any circumstances. If you have revealed personal and financial data with somebody by mistake, please contact 24-hour Customer Care immediately. Call your bank and report your concern as soon as possible. The sooner you contact them, lesser is the chance of financial damage.