Vishing Attacks Explained: What Are They, And How Can Businesses Prevent Them?
People tend to believe that they’re immune to scams. Cases often hit the front line of the news and when we read about them in hindsight, they do seem apparent.
But the truth is, scams aren’t always obvious. Cybercriminals’ methods are getting more sophisticated each day, and they can find more about you online than ever before.
One type of scam you should know about is vishing. In previous years, vishing attacks explained numerous data breaches and financial fraud.
Like it or not, you and your team members are likely to be targets of vishing scams. The number of fraudulent cases is increasing. In 2021, seven out of ten professionals reported that they have been targeted by vishing scams. This indicated a 54% increase compared to the previous year.
For businesses, this is concerning because a successful scam might lead the scammer right to the sensitive data of their clients and workers locked in the private infrastructure.
What should you know about vishing, and how can you prevent it?
What Is Vishing, Exactly?
Vishing is a type of phishing attack that uses phone calls or voice messages to scam the victim into wiring a transfer or revealing sensitive information.
When relying on phone calls, hackers might impersonate government officials, bank workers, or higher-ups in your company. During these phone calls, they might urge you to complete a wire transfer or reveal your password.
A common spin on this scam is to convince the victim that they're in danger and that the scammer is trying to help them. Criminals use this technique to obtain sensitive information such as credentials that enable unauthorized access to businesses and personal accounts.
Another way they could try to get to you is by leaving a phone message. For example, they could urge you to contact them as soon as possible because someone got access to your bank account.
How Do Scammers Find Phone Numbers?
If you get a phone call from the scammer, you might be wondering, “how did they even get my phone number?”
Many people imagine that it includes hacking companies for which you work or services that require your phone number. While this is a possibility, not all attempts require highly technical knowledge.
In reality, most scammers scour the web and choose their victims based on what they can find about them online.
Possible routes via which the threat actors get phone numbers on the website of your business, LinkedIn page, and online resumes.
The attacks don’t have to be personal, either. Instead, scammers could choose victims based on whether there is a lot of data they can spin and use to their advantage.
Phone details can also be available on hacking forums, data dumps, and the dark web.
There are also tools that scammers can use to dial randomized phone numbers.
What Are Common Signs of Vishing?
Every scammer is different, but they rely on similar techniques to shift you into panic mode without you questioning whether something suspicious might be going on.
Obvious signs of vishing are:
? Demands that include a high sense of urgency
? Offers that are too good to be true
? Requests for information that your bank would never ask over the phone or email
? Calls from numbers of different states
Therefore, the scammers often create urgent situations aiming to pressurize their victims to act right away.
To do so, they either convince their victims that they have won or might lose something.
In order to collect the reward or “help” victims regain access to the bank account, they’ll seek additional sensitive information — such as data that banks would never ask over the phone.
Pay attention to unknown phone numbers as well. Google the number or check it on apps such as Truecaller which has a database of scammers' mobile phone numbers.
Why Do People Fall for Vishing Scams?
In cybersecurity, vishing is considered “a social engineering attack”. There is a common consensus that the majority of the incidents that lead to data breaches and dangerous attacks result from human error.
Scammers target unsuspected victims to obtain their data. While doing so, they prey on their deepest fears and desires — which might include stolen identity, breached bank account, or winning the lottery.
Threat actors imitate people and institutions others trust because you’re less likely to suspect that they are attempting to scam you.
Nowadays, it’s possible to find a lot about you on the internet. Social media and websites you use to find the next gig or job are a major resource for scammers. They can use these platforms to get to know you deeper.
How to Prevent Vishing Scams
Awareness is the most effective way to combat scams such as vishing. Introduce employee training to decrease the change of a successful vishing attack.
The number of attacks might not decrease, but recognizing common techniques that scammers use on their victims, can decrease the number of successful phishing attempts.
Your employees should know how scammers think and what to do in case of a vishing attempt.
Phone numbers are often used to verify our identities when we log into the bank’s applications and emails. This is the main reason that scammers have been using techniques such as vishing for years, and why we must guard that sensitive information.
The good thing is that you and your employees can’t get hacked by just initiating a phone call. Scammers use common methods to create urgency and convince you to hand over sensitive information or download malware that steals your data to your phone.
Some things you can do today to prevent successful phishing attempts are to learn about the common scamming techniques, how they choose their targets, and what to do in case they recognize that a criminal is on the other side of the line.
As a business, include employee training and create a company culture within which your employees feel free to report possible incidents.