You might not be familiar with the term, vishing, but the odds are pretty good you’ve encountered it.
Vishing is a relatively new word that’s been attached to an old con. Vishing refers to is the act of someone leaving you an automated voice message that deals with something financial. Examples include:
- There’s a problem with your bank account.
- You’re in trouble with the IRS.
- The caller has found the perfect get-rich-fast scheme that you don’t want to miss out on.
The reason it’s called vishing is that the v signifies that it’s a verbal scam.
The people who make these vishing calls are masterminds at making the call sound extremely important and legit, and this is especially true about the calls that pertain to back taxes and problems with bank accounts. Every single Day, thousands of people respond to the link or number that’s attached to the automated message.
The goal of the person who is behind the vishing scam is quite simple. They want to know you’re personal information. While each vishing scam is a little different, most are seeking:
- Home addresses
- Social security numbers
- Bank account numbers
- Personal information about loved ones
Vishing scams are incredibly effective. According to Earthweb, in 2021, 59.4 million people became a victim of a vishing scam, and the average amount of money lost in the scams increased by 43%. One of the really interesting things about vishing scams is it appears that teenagers and young adults are the most likely people to become a victim.
The best way to make sure you’re never a victim of a vishing scam is to become diligent about not directly responding to the call in any way. Don’t click a link, don’t return the call, don’t call any number that was left a message. What you should do is contact the financial institution directly and find out if there really is a problem.
If you do accidentally respond to a vishing scam, take defensive action as soon as you realize what you’ve done. Contact banks, investment brokerages and any other financial institute you’re connected to and alert them to the situation. Have them close down your accounts and set up new ones with new account numbers. Yes, it’s a hassle, but it’s still preferable to losing all of your money to a con artist.