Thursday, March 4, 2010

Be careful what they vish for...

Most people at some time are going to get phone calls from strange phone numbers that, when answered, have nobody there. Or, if you're like me, you don't answer calls you don't recognize.

I got a call like that at 6:13 this morning and, unless it's a dire emergency associated with someone I know and hold dear, it's not likely I'll answer. When I did get up, I took the number (1-800-931-1026) to one of my favourite sites, where I could look it up. If you're curious, you can go look up the results yourself but someone's post held very salient information so I thought I would pick it out and feature it here as well.

And so today's topic is:

Vishing or Voice Phishing

What is Vishing?

"Vishing" or "Voice Phishing” is the act of leveraging a new technology called Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) in using the telephone system to falsely claim to be a legitimate enterprise in an attempt to scam users into disclosing personal information. Government, financial institutions, as well as online auctions and their payment services, can be targets of Voice Phishing.

Methods of transmission:

* typically an incoming recorded telephone message uses a spoofed (fraudulent) caller ID
matching the identity of a misrepresented organization
* the message uses an urgent pretext to direct unsuspecting users to another telephone
* the victim is invited to punch their personal information on their telephone keypad
* criminals capture the key tones and convert them back to numerical format

Different variations of the scam:

* the potential victim is contacted by a phishing e-mail and directed to a VoIP-based telephone
* the potential victim receives a telephone call from another individual with a spoofed caller ID
* the potential victim receives a recorded incoming call with a spoofed caller ID directing them
to a phishing site


The content of the incoming message is designed to trigger an impulsive reaction from you. It can use:

* upsetting or exciting information
* demand an urgent response
* use a false pretense
* is not normally personalized

Information at risk:

Any numerical personal information:

* payment card information (numbers, expiry dates and the last three digits printed on the
signature panel)
* PIN (Personal Identification Number)
* social insurance number
* date of birth
* bank account numbers
* passport number

Potential uses of your information:

* control of victim's financial accounts
* open new bank accounts
* transfer bank balances
* apply for loans
* credit cards and other goods/services
* luxury purchases
* hide criminal activities
* receive government benefits or
* obtain a passport.

How to prevent:

* As a general rule, be suspicious when receiving any unsolicited incoming communication.
* Never provide personal information in these circumstances.
* Never rely solely on your telephone caller ID function.

If you’re suspicious:

* Consumers have a role to play in stopping vishing scams. You are encouraged to Recognize it,
Report it and Stop it.
* Do not react immediately without thinking.
* If this concerns you, investigate by using telephone numbers known to be valid. In the case of
credit cards for example, use the telephone number printed on the back of the card.
* Never provide personal or financial information to non-validated sources.

Are you a victim?: If you have provided personal information:

Step 1. Contact all compromised card issuers.
Step 2. Contact your credit bureau.
Step 3. Report the incident online at or by contacting PhoneBusters at 1-888-495-8501. (For Canadians)

1 comment:

USCallers said...

You can also use to get phone number information.

So How Come?

My photo
I have two blogs at the moment - Here Be Dragons which is devoted to rental scams primarily sourced through Craigslist although the proliferation of free ad sites has widened the hunting grounds. Many additions come from other sources (ie: blogs/anti-scam sites/online community ad sites) or are provided by people who want to share their experiences. There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch is for copies of scammail that I find in my mailboxes ~ sometimes I can't resist the odd acerbic comment but for the most part I post 'em because the more that people do, the fewer fools they get to gull. Dunno what to say about me that would be very interesting ~ I'm a granny who reads, gardens and crafts as the mood strikes me. :) I don't particularly care for the social predators on this planet and this blog is part of my way of saying so.