Progressive Business Publication Scam Alert
Identity thieves are constantly creating new ways to scam unsuspecting people. That’s why it’s essential to recognize the three most common technology-related scams known as Phishing, Vishing and SMiShing.
Phishing scams use email, while Vishing attacks come over land telephones. SMiShing scams target the users of mobile devices.
The common element to all three scams is to collect confidential personal and financial information.
Here’s a closer look at how they work.
Phising is an attempt to get your password or credit card number by sending out phony email that looks like it comes from a trustworthy entity, usually a bank but possibly also a social website, an online payment processor or even an IT company. The phony email contains a link to a site that looks and feels like a real company.
If you click the link and go to the site, you’re directed to enter financial or other details, even to log in if it’s a mock up of your real bank site.
But even if you do none of these, the site has probably already downloaded malware onto your computer to try to capture your private information.
The term Phising is derived from fishing, and is a reference to baiting a victim into biting on a malicious link, etc.
Vishing scams use Internet-based telephone systems to gain access to private and personal data. The term comes from “voice” and phishing. It goes like this: You answer the phone and an automated recording informs you your credit card, or maybe your bank account, had suspicious or fraudulent activity and you need to call a certain number right away.
The recording tells you the number to call and says your account or card has been deactivated until further notice. When you call, you get another recording telling you to enter your bank or credit card number on the key pad to confirm who you are. Don’t do it.
This kind of scam is also used to get a security PIN, expiration date, date of birth, etc.
SMiShing is similar to the other scams, but uses cell phone text messages to deliver the bait and get someone to divulge personal information. The name is a combination of Short Message Service technology and phishing.
The hook in this scam is a website or phone number the user is required to connect with.
SmiShing often involves something that needs immediate attention, such as confirming you’ve signed up for a discounted subscription, and you’ll be charged $8 a day unless you cancel the order. Then it gives you a phone number to call to cancel.
Of course, you can’t cancel without entering your vital personal and financial information, which is the raison d’etre behind the scam in the first place.
A recent variation of this involved retail giant WalMart, which issued a fraud alert regarding a large number of SmiShing texts that offered a phony $1,000 gift card as bait.
The key to handling all three of these scams requires the same reality check: If you feel a need to contact your bank or credit card company, use the number on the back of your credit card or call or visit a branch office you know for sure is real!