Have you ever received a phone call from a number with the title “scam likely”, or from a number calling from a place you haven’t heard of? Today we’re going to be talking about a social engineering trick called Vishing. Vishing, similar to phishing is when a fraudulent actor calls you to acquire sensitive information or monetary gain. Today, we’re going to give you tips on how to keep yourself and your family members safe from these attempts.
Tips on Handling Phone Call Scams
- Are you expecting a phone call from someone new and you don’t have their number saved? If so, just verify in casual conversation something that only they would know about you to make sure it is them. If not, then let the phone call go to voicemail. If the caller does not leave a voicemail. then it wasn’t important enough to even pick up in the first place.
- If they do leave a voicemail, verify that it is something that you have been anticipating. An example would be a new job opportunity and you’re waiting on a callback. An example of a scam would be getting left a voicemail of a collections agency asking for debt but you know that you don’t have debt that went to collections.
- Verify where the call is coming from. If it’s coming from North Dakota and you live in Seattle and don’t know anymore from there, then it is most likely a scam call.
- If you happen to pick up and the caller is asking for personal information then hang up. No reputable company would call you and ask for personal information. If you want reassurance then go onto the company’s website and call their service line and verify that it was a legitimate call.
- Note, the IRS or any governmental agency will never just call you, they will send you a letter in the mail especially if you need to pay back debt or owe in taxes.
Put Yourself on the National No Call List Registry
One way to help never receive fraudulent or spam calls again is to register your home or mobile phone number on the National Do Not Registry, it’s free to sign up and regulated by the federal government. After you do this, you can assume anymore unknown or suspicious calls are likely a scam.
While this may not be news to you, it can help prevent your friends and family from falling victim to these attempts. Unfortunately, the elders in our society are the main ones that these malicious attackers target. In 2014, a former FBI director and his wife were targets of a phone call scam. This caller did not know the man was a former FBI director and was thus later apprehended by the FBI with the help of the former FBI director and his wife. It is imperative that you teach your elders how to spot and subvert these attacks so that they don’t fall victim to them. Luckily, the former FBI director, although now elderly, still knew how to spot something fraudulent due to his years of training. This might not be the case with your friends and loved ones if they are not taught properly.