Phishing Scams Move to Mobile Phones With "Vishing"

By May 19, 2009

Companies engaging in fraud have stolen money from Web users by designing phishing scams. Now they are moving to an even more populous category with mobile phone users. The term "vishing," or voice phishing, describes the updated crime which gather personal information, committing identity theft, etc. In the original model, Web users are diverted to a site that looks like a social networking Web page where they can enter their log-in data. The firms that conduct these scams violate the Do Not Call registry and typically falsify caller ID in order to appear as a legitimate business or a recognized phone number. People generally trust caller ID and answer the call.

An example scam that was run by two telemarketing firms in Florida manipulated their incoming phone number and delivered a recording to the handset owner. The call recipient was instructed to dial a toll-free number and purchase a bogus extended car warranty which costs over $2000.

Caller ID "spoofing," as a CNet vishing article today explains, is relatively easy. Since it not technically illegal, there are several methods which are very accessible. These methods include SpoofCard, a commercial service, or using a call-out service like Skype, which allows account holders to choose their area code and prefix, controlling the perceived location origin.

Most of the vishing scams originate as a means of stealing credit card numbers or other types of identity theft, or attempt to sell nonexistent products.

To avoid becoming a victim of a vishing scam, there are possible indicators to be aware of. Often these scams are operated by only a few people, so they use pre-recorded messages to deliver their marketing hook. Some say that the call recipient's credit card has been compromised, and to call the given number to verify personal information.

For more information visit the FTC and join the Do Not Call list!

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