Voice phishing, also called vishing, is one of the many growing forms of phishing that has information security professionals scrambling for solutions. Vishing aims to nefariously lure potential victims into revealing personal or financial information. This form of attack has been on the rise recently, with almost 30% of incoming mobile calls in 2018 coming from scammers.

How exactly do voice phishing calls work? 

Using emotion appeals, scammers create situations that convince callers to divulge information that they ordinarily wouldn’t share over the phone. A scammer, for example, could pose as an authority figure, making the caller feel as though it is his/her obligation to hand over the requested information. This maneuver works on individuals who are at home or in business settings.

Tell me more about voice phishing that occurs in business settings:

For criminals, phishing is easiest when workers are remote. Employees may receive a phone call where the criminal is impersonating a loosely-known colleague. In these instances, it’s common for employees to hand over information that the supposed colleague requests.

How much damage can voice phishing calls cause?

The 2018 Internet Crime Report says various forms of phishing, including vishing, affected 26,379 victims and accounted for $48 million dollars in 2018. A Consumer Reports survey states that U.S. adults are fighting back, and that they’ve stopped answering calls from unknown numbers. Many have registered with the National Do Not Call Registry, but with less-than-stellar results. Companies can refute these calls by bolstering available IT department solutions or filing a complaint with the FTC. Until additional technological advances arrive, ensure that you and your employees steer clear of scammers.

When you answer calls, be sure to conduct a mental ‘phishing check’ and ensure that you are not about to become a phishing victim.

What’s the difference between phishing and smishing?

The term ‘phishing’ largely refers to scams that occur via phone call. The term ‘smishing’ refers to cyber scams that occur via text message, or “SMS”.

Tell me more about phishing amidst the coronavirus pandemic: 

Cyber attacks have generally escalated amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Phishing attacks have increased exponentially. In the US, both the FBI and the Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) have issued a joint advisory about the dangers and prevalence of phishing scams.

To learn more about voice phishing and how to avoid it, check out this article.