Vishing: Spot an attack and protect your business

Tech Blog
IT Support
June 10, 2024
 dont fall victim to vishing attacks, spot vishing calls

Vishing scams are becoming increasingly common and can easily trick unsuspecting victims into giving away confidential data.

For business owners across all sectors, it's important that you remain vigilant against these attacks and take steps to ensure that your company's sensitive data remains safe from prying eyes.

To help businesses avoid falling victim to vishing, The One Point’s experts have provided all the insight you need to identify scams and stay protected.

What is vishing?

Vishing, sometimes known as voice phishing, is a criminal attempt to gain confidential information from businesses over the phone.

In this type of cyber attack, criminals use social engineering techniques and pose as an employee or organisation.

They will typically call from blocked, 'spoofed' or private numbers and request 'urgent' sensitive information.

Phishing, smishing and vishing: what's the difference?

While vishing takes place over a phone call, phishing is an attempt to gain confidential information with an email. The email may trick the recipient into visiting a fake website, downloading a virus or giving up private details. Smishing, derived from SMS phishing, utilises the same tactics but through a text (SMS) message.

How do cyber criminals prepare for a vishing attack?

Before carrying out a vishing attack, criminals will have done their research about you and your business in order to sound convincing.

They might make references to personal or financial information, and mention co-workers' names, job titles and personal life details, which can be obtained from social media.

They will also be sure to sound, professional, conversational and even charming, pressing you to provide an urgent action or offering a reward for answering their questions. Much like typical email phishing tactics, cyber criminals create a sense of authority, urgency and panic.

During vishing attacks, criminals can use cleverly disguised phone calls to attempt to gain access to people's bank account details or other sensitive information.

If the hacker expects a high potential payout, the vishing attack could be part of a wider, more sophisticated social engineering campaign.

Vishing examples

To help you better understand how vishing unfolds, our experts have pulled together some examples of common attacks.

Government agency threatening legal action

  • A caller claims to be from a government agency and threatens legal action if the person they are calling does not immediately provide personal information.
  • A payment for an alleged hefty overdue tax bill is also demanded.
  • The caller warns of further penalties or other consequences for failing to comply with their demands.

In reality, a government agency must go through due process before taking legal action.

It is never safe to give out your bank account details in response to a call from someone claiming to be a government agency.

These scammers are looking for people who may panic and agree to their demands - so don't be fooled. Instead, hang up and report any suspicious calls immediately.

Electricity company warning of cut-off

  • A scammer calls pretending to be from the local electric company.
  • They tell the person on the line that their electricity will be cut off immediately unless they make an emergency payment.
  • The scammer threatens legal action or other consequences if the person does not comply right away.

In reality, you would never receive such a call from your utility provider.

It is crucial to never give out confidential information over the phone. Even if the caller seems to know a lot about you already, they could still be up to no good.

Vishing attack red flags

The first step in defending yourself against vishing scams is recognising them when they occur.

Here are a few key signs that you may be dealing with a vishing scammer:

  • The caller requests personal information such as credit card numbers or other sensitive data.
  • The caller pressures you for an immediate response.
  • The call is out of the blue and unexpected, despite threats of legal action if immediate action is not taken.
  • The caller requests payment in the form of cash or prepaid cards.
  • The caller does not provide contact information for verification purposes, the call may become angry or give excuses as to why they cannot give verification.
  • The number the call is coming from is blocked or private or even spoofed to appear as if from a trusted source.

How to protect yourself from vishing

The best way for businesses to protect themselves against vishing is by training employees about the dangers of giving out sensitive information over the phone.

This applies whether it is personal, financial or business information being disclosed.

It's important for anyone who regularly handles such data to be aware of vishing tactics and be able to spot them. This includes being on the lookout for calls from familiar phone numbers which may have been spoofed, as well as identifying when a caller is pretending to be an employee or organisation.

It's a good idea to keep your guard up and fully verify any requests before offering sensitive data, no matter how official the phone call may appear.

Employees should verify the caller's phone number with the official website or your organisation's internal directory before providing any personal information.

Support on vishing from The One Point

You can help your team stay secure by getting in touch with The One Point's cyber security experts.

Our team of experienced professionals will provide you with tailored advice to ensure your organisation is as secure as possible.

Protecting yourself from vishing attacks is an essential part of any cyber security plan. Vishing threats can cause major damage if they go undetected.

We can help guide your team through the process of recognising, avoiding, and mitigating risks associated with phishing emails and vishing calls.

We focus on delivering a simple and engaging advice that everyone can follow to identify potential malicious phone calls and other threats associated with identity theft.

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