Most computer users and Internet surfers are now aware of Phishing and its variants Spear Phishing, Tabnabbing, Whaling, and Tabjacking. In this article, we will try to make you aware of two more variants or attacks or scams: Smishing and Vishing scams.
What are Smishing and Vishing scams?
In Phishing, an email “appearing” to be from a legitimate source is sent, requesting the recipient to visit an authentic-looking URL, to login in and enter sensitive personal data. These are then harvested by the sender and misused to make profits.
What is Vishing
Vishing is a variant of Phishing, the term being coined as a combination of Voice and Phishing.
Vishing attacks are usually initiated via telephone, where the caller, claiming to be from some legitimate organization or institution, calls to verify personal information about you. He may mention a few basic details about you correctly, leading you to believe it’s the real thing. A smart caller then may unknowingly extract sensitive information from you about you.
Alternatively, you may instead receive an email asking you to call up a particular telephone number immediately to prevent your account from being blocked. Here again, a shrewd talker will try to fool you into inadvertently divulging some personal financial details about you.
A typical Vishing scamster may use Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and even leave a Toll-Free number for you to call.
What is Smishing
With text messaging becoming so popular, scams involving SMSs had to appear! Smishing is a term coined from Short Message Service (SMS) and Phishing. In these scams, you may receive an SMS stating that your account will be charged since you have confirmed enrollment in some particular program or service like a dating service, some club, some vacation scheme, some phony purchase, and so on. And that if you do not reply within, say, two days, your account with be charged with some money. You may then be asked to visit a URL and click on Cancel to cancel the order. Clicking on such links or Cancel /Confirm options may download a trojan, exposing your mobile device to criminal access.
Avoid falling prey to Vishing and Smishing scams
Whatever happens, do not panic! Make it a rule not to respond to such emails, phone calls or SMS messages.
If you do receive them, simply call up the bank number or write a fresh email or phone the bank directly on the contact details which you know to be genuine. This is the most basic common-sense rule to follow!
You may also wish to consider reporting such scams to your local authorities.
Speaking of scams, some of these links are sure to interest you: