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Vishing: How to Spot It and How to Stop It

September 25, 2018

Vishing: How to Spot It and How to Stop It 

In the world of financial fraud, cybercriminals are always pushing the creative envelope. While foreign email scams and bogus websites may seem blatantly obvious, other schemes such as phishing and malware are harder to recognize. Now, information thieves are reviving an old tactic: Vishing.

What is Vishing?

Vishing is the telephone equivalent of phishing. It is described as the act of using the telephone in an attempt to scam the user into surrendering private information that can be used for identity theft. In most instances, criminals have skimmed debit card information at an ATM or a Point-of-Sale terminal. Once they have obtained the credit card information, they then spoof credit union phone numbers and contact members by phone. 

Posing as a credit union representative verifying suspicious debit card activity, the thieves trick members into providing CVV2/CVC2 codes and expiration dates for their debit cards. Since they already have the credit card information they’ve skimmed, the crooks can then utilize the additional information to pass the security checks required to change PIN codes through card services voice response systems. Once the PIN changes are complete, they can use the debit card to make purchases. 

3 Tips to Keep You from Becoming a Vishing Victim 

Screen your calls. Since vishing scammers commonly spoof telephone numbers before making their calls, you can avoid most interactions by refusing to answer calls from unknown numbers. To be safe, if the phone number isn’t in your contacts, don’t answer the call. While we may occasionally try to contact you for legitimate reasons, they will have no problem leaving a message asking you to call back at your convenience. 

Keep personal information to yourself. If you find yourself on a suspicious phone call, keep in mind that banks, credit unions, and government agencies will never ask you to verify personal information over the phone. If you suspect you are being scammed, ask the caller to provide a phone number where you can call them back. If they hesitate or object, end the call sooner rather than later. 

Report fraudulent activity to the authorities. If you believe you have been the victim of a vishing scam, record the phone number and time of phone call and contact us and local law enforcement to file a report. Also, you can report vishing calls to the Federal Trade Commission online or by calling (888) 382-1222. For further information and a complete list state-specific consumer protection resources, click here.