What is Vishing?

Vishing is widely known to be a criminal practice used in various social engineering activities in order to gather private information from the general public while engaged in a phone conversation. This type of criminal activity is usually done over the phone using services facilitated by voice over IP technologies (VoIP) that make it hard to track the source of the number that is calling. This term is composed out of a mixture of “voice” and “phishing” due to the fact that it is actually very similar to email phishing while being done over the phone line.

While in the situation of being targeted for a vishing attack, it is recommended to manifest caution and tranquility while being careful not to provide any private information. It is recommended to request the incident number of any private information request and then hang up while calling the official number of the institution or service that the vishing attacker was trying to impersonate in order to verify the nature of the situation.

It is widely known that switched landline telephone lines are closely monitored for vishing attacks with the use of automatic detection mechanisms such as anomalies in phone conversations (for example the repeated calls initiated by a closely related set of phone numbers towards call centers). However, when it comes to voice over IP there are many ways in which an attacker could hide his identity and caller origin, reason why this type of attack has proven to be extremely hard to prevent or track.

Due to the fact that vishing is very difficult to monitor and trace by legal authorities it is recommended to act caution whenever you are in the situation of giving away social or private information such as credit card numbers, birth dates, social security numbers or other similar information that should not be required to be disclosed over the phone line. As a result, whenever the situation applies, simply refuse to divulge any such information.

Take extra caution whenever any organization calls asking for a donation or if you ever get offered a lower credit card rate from a phone call. The same goes for any friend asking for money on a social networking site.

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