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Scam Alert – Don’t be a Vish!

by | Behaviour, Web Security

One of our relatives recently was scammed out of about R70,000 and we want to warn you about how it worked.

By now you should have heard of “Phishing”

This is where scammers use email or text messages to trick you into giving them your personal and financial information.

Scammers use email or text messages to try to steal your passwords, account numbers, or personal information. If they get that information, they could get access to your email, bank, or other accounts. Or they could sell your information to other scammers. Scammers launch thousands of phishing attacks like these every day — and they’re often successful. Want to know more? Read here.

Now you need to know about “Vishing”

Vishing (Voice-Fishing) is the name for an increasingly sinister and occurring attack where criminals use phone calls to steal your information and money.

How it works

  • You may receive a deceptive transactional message regarding a purchase.
  • Shortly thereafter, a fraudster will call you – posing as a member of your bank or credit card company’s “fraud team”.
  • They will claim to have detected a “suspicious transaction” on your account and will request your confirmation regarding its legitimacy. They will often tell you the information that appeared in this unusual SMS/text message/notification.
  • At this point, if you unknowingly confirm that yes(!) you have received an unusual notification, the caller will offer to assist you in cancelling or reversing the transaction.
  • However, they will first claim they need to “authenticate your identity”.
  • The fraudster may employ one or of the following tactics (or similar):
  • Requesting that you provide all or some of the digits of your credit card number;
  • Requesting that you provide your credit card’s CVV (the three or four digits on the back of the card)
  • Tell you that they have sent or will send you a one-time pin (OTP) to your phone and you must read it back to them to “confirm that you are who you say you are”.
  • Refer you to a web address which they will text you where you can “safely enter your details”. This will look like a recognised site with all the usual branding but it is not!!

All of these requests are designed to trick you into disclosing your card information or an OTP, which would authorise fraudulent transactions using your compromised card details. They will put you under a lot of pressure to act fast to avoid “further losses”. They are trying to make you panic and fall for their trap.

What to do if you have the SLIGHTEST fear you may be being Vished

If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from a fraud team, we urge you to take the following steps:

  • Take a breath. Any time that you get a call from someone – particularly concerning a credit card or bank – and are put under pressure to act “immediately” or “urgently” this is the first sign that it may be a scam. Pressure leads to pain. Don’t be pressured into doing something you will regret.
  • Even if the call looks like it’s coming from a recognised number, keep your guard up. Criminals can spoof numbers that belong to real companies, or impersonate call center professionals. Do not trust caller ID numbers as criminals are routinely creating false call line identification names (like ABC Bank Fraud Division) to make their claims more credible.
  • Ask for the name of the person calling you and, if they have it, a reference number for this call.
  • Hang up immediately and if they call back (even repeatedly) don’t answer this call.
  • Call your bank or the company directly. DO NOT USE ANY NUMBER THE CALLER MAY PROVIDE YOU. Take the time to call the number on the back of your credit card or do a Google search for the contact number.
  • Once connected, request to be transferred to the person who contacted you.

Remember, you should never disclose any personal or financial information over the phone unless you are 100% certain you are speaking with a real representative of the bank or credit card company. You should never give out personal or company information to an unsolicited caller – no matter who you think it is.

When in doubt – get out. Pressure causes pain.