Phishing, Vishing, Smishing….WHAT!?!?!

After meeting with a potential customer who was recently a victim of a financial fraud scam, I was reminded of an article in the Wisconsin State Journal that emphasized how common fraud scams really are; especially targeting baby boomers who don’t necessarily have the computer savvies that Gen Xers have. (I am generalizing, of course).

But whether it’s your “life savings” or just a few thousand dollars, it is important for consumers to know how to protect themselves. 

As cautious consumers, how do we keep up with the new fraud attempts?  As they (scam artists) become more and more innovative, are we able to continue to educate ourselves on the ability of some technology and curb our vulnerability??

When it used to be simply mass mailers, or telemarketers promising consumers the world and delivering the opposite, it was difficult to track what was scam and what was a real legitimate offer. But now, with the ever expanding capabilities of technology, it’s even worse. Some more recent innovative scams are:

Phishing – This occurs when scammers attempt to gain sensitive information such as passwords and user identification numbers by pretending to be a trustworthy website.

Vishing – Vishing is an electronic fraud tactic in which individuals are tricked into revealing critical financial or personal information to unauthorized parties by phone, however it utilizes a high-tech system, and makes formerly difficult to abuse tools such as caller ID useless. The caller virtually goes undetected.

Smishing – Smishing utilizes yet another tool, text messaging. A text message is sent to the member’s cell phone that asks the member to call a toll-free number.  Once that call is made, the scammers will ask for personal information such as Account Number, Credit/Debit card number or Social Security Number.

Although it sounds like a Dr. Seuss book….”One Phish, Two Phish, Red Phish, Blue Phish…” it’s anything but an entertaining parody. What can we do to educate consumers and keep them up to speed on these ever-adapting scams?? Are you a recent victim of one of these scams? Are there newer scams out there that you have heard of?

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One thought on “Phishing, Vishing, Smishing….WHAT!?!?!

  1. It is very important to inform people about these schemes. My husband was a victim of a vishing scheme. He got a call from someone claiming to be from VISA and stated that they had seen fraudulent activity on our son’s debit card. When my husband told the person on the phone to close the account, he was told that because he was not a signer on my son’s account, he would have to give them information on our personal card to verify his identity. My husband gave the person our debit card information. After he hung up the phone, he called me at the bank because he thought it may be a scam. I checked my account and found that a transaction was coming through from a location in California. This was within five minutes!!
    Working in a bank, I know that VISA will never call and ask for your account number. If anyone gets a call from VISA, tell the person on the phone that you will call them back. You can find a phone number for VISA on the back of your card or on your monthly bill.

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