Vishing Voice Mail Scam turns popular for thieves

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Recently I was personally introduced to my first "vishing" scam.  My cell phone indicated I had received a voice mail --though the phone was sitting right next to me and never rang. I just assumed it went directly to voice mail due to possible low service in that area.  But as it turns out --the service was fine, the call was designed to go straight to voice mail.

I listened to the voice mail. The message relayed the caller was an agent working with my cell phone provider and they needed to speak to me right away. Relaying, if I didn't soon, I ran the risk of having my phone service shut down. The caller claimed they were trying to reach me due to what appeared to be excessive calls. And because of these calls, I had incurred extra charges. They were concerned that the number of calls made seemed suspicious --and relayed they could be fraudulent.   

In reality --it was the call that was suspicious. --and fraudulent. 

Rather than calling the number they provided, I contacted my cell phone provider directly and asked them if they had tried to reach me. (something everyone should do when instructed to dial an unknown and unverified phone number left in voice mail, text or email)

As predicted, they had no record of anyone trying to reach me, nor had they detected any  problem with my account. No additional charges had been incurred as the message falsely claimed. My provider took the time to review my account, their computer system, etc. and confirmed that the number I shared with them, was not one of their company lines --this was in fact a vishing scam.

Though "vishing" is newer and less known than it's sister "phishing" scam, it is growing in popularity with thieves. A vishing attack can be conducted through voice email, VoIP (voice over IP), can target both cell phones and landlines. 

The term "Vishing" comes from a combination of voice and phishing. Vishing works like phishing but does not always occur over the Internet and is carried out using voice technology. The targeted victim may receive a voice mail that may be generated by speech synthesis. The message may claim that suspicious activity has taken place on one of your credit card accounts, bank accounts, mortgage, cell phone account or any other service in your name.

The victim is left with a bogus number and told it's urgent for them to return the call where they will then need to either provide information in order to "verify identity" or fix whatever problem they claim is going on. Even your Caller-ID can be fooled.

Scammers can spoof the Caller ID by having it indicate the call is coming from a legitimate place of business, such as your bank, the IRS or even one of your credit card holders.

Vishing is difficult for law enforcement to track because typically vishing scams originate in other countries. VoIP lets you make phone calls using your high speed Internet connection instead of a phone line.

Vishing is a criminal practice in which the scam artist uses VoIP (voice over internet protocols) to obtain credit card and bank account information via a pre-recorded message. Utilizing this technology, the scam artist can create a phone number that doesn't necessarily correlate with their location. For example, they can have a number with the area code of 320 and a 983 exchange, but actually be in Tennessee or Mexico.

Caller ID spoofing is a term used to refer to the practice of causing the telephone network to display a number on the recipients caller ID display which is not that of the actual originating station (similar to e-mail spoofing). You can have any number you want. 

Never dial a number that is left in a voice mail or provided in an email. Rather, take the time to find the legitimate number through your documentation, phone book or by searching online. .

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