Fraud on the internet | Phishing vs Vishing
With internet-related crimes on the rise, the latest statistics say that 1 in 10 people are now victims of fraud on the internet. These scams have taken many forms over the years and the implementation of new technologies has allowed them to become increasingly more realistic and difficult to identify as an internet fraud. You may find yourself thinking back to an email from a Nigerian Prince trying to get his money out the country and offering a large reward for your assistance. Though we may laugh at the absurdity of it, these scams evolved over time to become the notorious phishing attempts that make up a large portion of fraud on the internet that we see today.
Phishing and Vishing – What are they?
Phishing (pronounced just like fishing) is a type of internet fraud in which scammers attempt to gain access to our secure information, such as passwords or confidential details, by posing as a bank or company who might require these specifics under normal circumstances. Just like actual fishing, these internet fraudsters use bait in the form of fake emails and website links in an attempt to trick us into divulging our information. The problem is, these emails and websites may look exactly like one that you would receive from your bank and, if the scam has been set up well, you would not even realize that you had just become a victim of fraud on the internet.
Vishing, a contraction of the words “voice” and “phishing”, is used to describe a type of phishing scam in which the fraudster phones the victim directly and pose as a legitimate business, bank or other company in order to convince you to give up your private information. These calls will generally be an automated recording alerting you to some kind of activity on your cards or account, and request that you call back a specific number immediately to resolve the issue. Once you phone back, you will be instructed to hand over credit card or relevant account information, after which the fraudsters will have all the information necessary to make fraudulent transactions in your name. An important component of vishing is that it is possible the make the phone number that they call you from exactly the same as that of your bank or any other company they may choose. This is done using a process call Caller ID spoofing and it is, unfortunately, legal and easy to implement.
How do deal with these threats?
The reality is that, whether we like it or not, there is a considerable amount of our personal information out there on the internet. The real problem comes when people get hold of information that we would not expect them to have. This might lead us to trust them because no one else should have that confidential information. The best defense against these kinds of fraud on the internet is awareness of the scams, along with skepticism against anyone who asks for your private details. Take the following precautions to ensure that you are protected from these types of internet fraud:
- Ensure that you install any security software on your computer that is recommended by your bank to protect your online transactions.
- Set up a form of banking authorization (such as cellphone notification) to prevent any transactions occurring without your knowledge or approval.
- Check any the URLs of your banking website for spelling errors or different domain use (such as .co over .com).
- Lastly, do not give up any of your confidential information over the phone. When in doubt, go to your nearest banking branch or personally check your account for activity before responding to calls.
If you think you may have been a victim of internet fraud, there are steps that you can take to minimize the potential damage from the scam.