Smishing and voice vishing are two types of fraud that use text messages and voice calls to steal money or sensitive information from victims. These two rapidly growing varieties of “social engineering” attacks have stolen money. In this blog post, we’ll discuss what smishing and vishing are, how they function, and some ways to avoid them.
What is smashing, and how does it work?
A smishing text is a message that attempts to deceive you into believing it is safe to reveal your personal information. These texts might be sent as emails to your phone. The sender does not have access to your phone number and may also provide a link to what appears to be a genuine website. But if you provide any personal information on this site, someone will steal it and misuse it immorally or sell it to someone else who will do the same.
Smishing may be defined as the practice of tricking people by taking a series of actions. The first step is to generate a sense of urgency so that you’ll act, such as for financial gain or “saving” money from being stolen. They’ll then send you to a look-alike website that looks exactly like the one you were expecting.
Government domains will be branded with the appropriate badge or emblem for the agency. You’d see typefaces, emblems, and color schemes on their site that are consistent with what you would expect to find at a financial institution.
The hacker then has you supply your personal information, which might be as easy as asking for your account name and password. The attack will succeed if you comply by giving them what they want and hitting the submit button.
Smishing is a fraudulent method that can be done quickly and with fewer steps than traditional methods. For example, the original text may contain a link to malware. Once tapped, cybercriminals can then use this downloaded software to steal your personal information.
What is vishing, and how does it work?
Voice vishing (or “vishing”) is similar to smashing. Still, scammers use prerecorded or computer-generated voice calls instead of text messages to trick you into giving them your personal information. They might say they’re from a government agency or well-known company and need your Social Security number, credit card information, or bank account details to verify your identity. Or they might claim suspicious activity on your account and ask you to confirm your login credentials.
These calls can be very convincing because scammers often use spoofing technology to make it look like they’re calling from a legitimate organization. They might even have some of your personal information, like your address or the last four digits of your Social Security number, to make the call sound more legitimate.
Do not give out personal information if you get a vishing call. If unsure whether the call is legitimate, hang up and call the customer service number for the organization the caller claims to represent. Do not use any phone numbers provided by the caller; find a customer service number on your own.
How can I protect myself from smishing and vishing?
There are several steps you can take to protect yourself from smishing and vishing attacks:
- Never give out your passwords or financial information to anyone over the phone or email, no matter who they say they are.
- Make sure all your transactions are encrypted.
- Do not click on links in emails or text messages unless you are confident they are genuine. Go to the organization’s website and look for information if unsure.
- If you get a vishing call, hang up and call the customer service number for the organization using a phone number you know is real. Do not use any phone number provided by the caller.
- Report phishing and vishing attacks to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.
- Forward suspicious text messages to SPAM (7726).
Smishing and vishing are two types of fraud that use text messages or phone calls, respectively, to try to trick you into giving them your personal information. They might say they’re from a government agency or well-known company and need your Social Security number, credit card information, or bank account details to verify your identity. Following these simple tips can help protect yourself from smishing and vishing attacks.