This Sophisticated Scam Is Fooling People Left and Right
I just found out about a very sophisticated scam from a friend who experienced this but fortunately didn't fall for what's called a "Vishing" scam. Online security company Norton describes vishing in this way...
"During a vishing phone call, a scammer uses social engineering to get you to share personal information and financial details, such as account numbers and passwords. The scammer might say your account has been compromised, claim to represent your bank or law enforcement, or offer to help you install software. Warning: It's probably malware.
Vishing is just one form of phishing, which is any type of message — such as an email, text, phone call or direct-chat message — that appears to be from a trusted source, but isn’t. The goal is to steal someone's identity or money."
There are many ways to trick people into giving out personal information that can be stolen, or get people to hand over cash. The scary thing is, the technology that scammers have available to them, can actually fake sounding like one of your loved ones who claims to be in trouble. Perhaps your college-age son was "in a vehicle accident" and hit another vehicle with a pregnant woman, and your son needs money for the lawyer immediately. The voice on the other end can actually sound like your son! It's creepy and very sophisticated! Computer systems can create audio that sounds like a particular person speaking (deepfake), giving the impression that a trusted individual is making a request.
How to deal with vishing attempts?
Norton offers the following tips to protect yourself from vishing attacks...
- Join the National Do Not Call Registry. Adding your home or mobile phone number to this registry is free and tells telemarketers you don't want their phone calls. However, certain types of organizations may still call you, such as charities and political groups, and it won't stop people from illegally calling your number.
- Don't pick up the phone. Although it may be tempting to answer every phone call, simply let them go to voicemail. Caller IDs can be faked, which means you might not know who's calling. Listen to your messages and decide whether to call the person back.
- Hang up. The moment you suspect it's a vishing phone call, don't feel obliged to carry on a polite conversation. Simply hang up, and block the number.
Don't press buttons or respond to prompts. If you get an automated message that asks you to press buttons or respond to questions, don't do it. For instance, the message might say "Press 2 to be removed from our list" or "Say ‘yes’ to talk with an operator." Scammers often use these tricks to identify potential targets for more robocalls. They also might record your voice and later use it when navigating voice-automated phone menus tied to your accounts.
- Verify the caller's identity. If the person provides a call-back number, it may be part of the scam — so don't use it. Instead, search for the company's official public phone number and call the organization in question.
If you suspect you have either been a victim of a scammer or an attempt to trick you has been made, according to experian.com, you can do the following:
- Contact Your Banks and Credit Card Companies.
- Reach Out to the Credit Bureaus.
- Submit a Complaint to the Federal Trade Commission.
- File a Police Report.
- Monitor Your Credit.
It's getting harder and harder to identify scams so best to be a skeptic when it comes to any text, email, or phone call that's trying to get you to do something. That's how I operate. Rarely do I pick up my phone if it's a number I don't recognize. It's best to always go right to the source of the company or person making a request of any of your personal information. Sadly, scammers keep coming up with new ways to get your private information or money from you.
For more information on scams and how to deal with them the Better Business Bureau has great information to check out at www.bbb.org/scamtips.
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