By now, you’ve probably heard of “phishing” and fraudsters who try to scam away our money, data and personal information. But have you ever heard of “vishing”?
Vishing (or voice phishing) is an older scamming method that is now becoming common again. In a vishing scam, a fraudster tries to get you to pick up your phone and disclose personal information.
The phone number might look legit, but take precaution
Our phone system today works through a digital network as opposed to the old analog network of operators at switchboards physically connecting calls. The digital system allows modern conveniences, such as instant connection and caller ID. However, with the correct equipment, a visher (someone running a vishing scam) can make calls that appear to be coming from anywhere, and they can spoof the incoming phone number. To add to the confusion, more and more vishing scams use local numbers to entice you to pick up.
If you choose to pick up, here’s what to look out for
Vishers master the art of using a convincing series of lies to get you to share private information. They may use false identities and personas to trick you. Sometimes, they may seem very nice to gain your trust; other times, they might take a more aggressive tactic that feels urgent and threatening. In either case, they’re trying to illicit an emotional response that compels you to act.
If you’re suspicious, here’s what you can do
If you don’t know the person calling or it seems suspicious, you can always ask for their name, politely thank them, hang up and then call the institution that supposedly just called you. Confirm whether or not they actually called, and let them know what happened.
When someone from Camden National Bank is calling a customer, for example, we make sure to state who from the bank is calling and the reason for the call. If you’re ever concerned that it’s really us on the line, you can always ask to call us back using our toll-free number: 800-860-8821.
The best lesson here is to be aware that these kinds of phone scams exist and to know that you don’t have to share your personal information over the phone if you’re suspicious.