According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, a partnership between the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the U.S. National White Collar Crime Center, cell phone fraud attacks are on the rise.
Given the unsteady state of world economies, a near perfect opportunity has been created for cyber-crooks to take advantage of people’s fears, and the worries, created by the uncertainties surrounding this crisis. Not surprisingly, there has been a major increase in financial-themed phishing, vishing, and spam.
Yes, you’ve heard of phishing, but what’s this vishing you ask?
The IC³ (Internet Crime Complaint Center) describes vishing as an attempt to persuade consumers either by email, text message, or a telephone call, purportedly from their credit card/debit card company, to divulge their Personally Identifiable Information (PII), claiming their account has been suspended, deactivated, or terminated.
In a common scenario, recipients are asked to contact their bank by calling a telephone number provided in the e-mail, cell phone text message, or alternatively, by an automated telephone recording. When the potential victim calls the telephone number, they are greeted with “Welcome to the bank of …” and then requested to enter their card number in order to resolve a pending security issue.
In the email scam attempt, in order to persuade the recipient that it is not a scam, the fraudulent e-mail sets out all the caveats the potential victim should be aware of in dealing with this type of email.
Who would consider that a scam artist would warn you that a bank would not contact customers to obtain their Personally Identifiable Information by e-mail, mail, text message or instant messenger?
To further convince the recipient of the validity of the email, it goes on to state that the recipients should not provide sensitive information when requested in an e-mail, and not to click on embedded links, claiming they could contain “malicious software aimed at capturing login credentials.”
Would this convince you that this email was genuine? It just might.
A new version of this scam recently reported to IC³ involves the sending of text messages to cell phones claiming the recipient’s on-line bank account has expired. The message instructs the recipient to renew their on-line bank account by using the link provided.
These types of attacks against financial institutions, and consumers, are occurring with such frequency that IC³ has called the situation “alarming”.
To reduce the chances of being victimized the following are minimum safety precautions you should take:
Consider every email, telephone call, or text message requesting your Personally Identifiable Information as a scam
Never click on embedded email or cell phone links
When contacting your bank; use a telephone number from your statement, a telephone book, or another independent source
You can read more on this issue at the Internet Crime Complaint Center.