According online security site Krebs on Security, phishing scams are on the rise. Readers wrote in to the site, reporting that they’d been targeted by automated phone calls warning them of fraudulent activity on their credit cards or bank accounts asking them to call in to a number and verify their credit card numbers.
If you receive a call like this, think before dialing. The question to ask yourself is, “Why does my credit card company need to know my account number? Don’t they already have it?” Account verification processes usually call for information that’s NOT on your credit card, like date of birth, last four digits of your social security number, or your “challenge” question (What is the name of the first pet you owned?)
Not to mention the fact that unless they have every phone number you use in their database, they aren’t able to match you to the card number period.
These efforts to steal your data–and your money–are also known as Vishing (Voice Phishing), are methods criminals employ to cleverly convince you to provide them access to personal information for the purpose of identity theft.
Vishing usually occurs as follows:
- You receive a recorded voice message to call a phone number
- An automatic voice response system walks through a series of questions to record your data
Smishing, like Vishing, is a scam as well. Smishing, however, sends a text message requesting you to call into a certain number.
An Internet Security reports shows that the attacks are declining, most likely a result of public awareness regarding these scams.
Krebs on Security noted that many people believe these scams to be ineffective; he refuted this by referencing a 2008 article he wrote that detailed a Smishing scam that sent millions of text messages in 45-days. There were approximately 4400 inbound callers (potential victims) and of these, 125 people gave up their account information, PIN, and security code.
Most of us tend to react quickly, sometimes without thought, when our money’s at stake. Refrain from reacting, remain calm, and take action: “If in doubt, check it out;” don’t call numbers you receive via text message from unknown parties, log into your bank account online, or pick up the phone and call you bank to verify the information. If you’ve been victimized by one of these scams, file a complaint with the joint FBI/National White Collar Crime Center Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). Fraud is a crime that needs to be curtailed.
The takeaway? If this type of fraud did not work, nobody’d be doing it.