Vishing, or phishing over the phone is often used by scammers to perform fraud or obtain information that they can use for a cyber attack at a later date. To protect yourself, when a stranger calls follow these rules:
- Expect no delay. If you answer the phone and someone doesn’t begin talking immediately, you are being connected to the next available telemarketer or scammer. Hang up.
- Identify who is calling. As soon as you answer the phone, ask who is calling and who they work for. If they refuse to identify themselves or their company, hang up.
- Trust but verify. Ask the caller for their phone number and street address, then cheerly tell them you will call them back. Hangup and google the address and the phone number to see if they match the name of the company. Do not use the number that they gave you to call them back. Look up the company website and use the contact number listed there. Legitimate companies want you to call them back and have no issues giving you contact information.
- Determine what they want and ask them for details that they should have if they are legitimate. For example, if they are calling about a credit card, ask them which one. They should be able to give you the last few digits on the card or account. If they can’t give you specifics, hang up.
- Never respond to inquiries using yes, yup or uh huh. These confirmations can be misused to sign you up for services that you have no interest in. Instead use, “That is correct” or another type of confirmation. For example, if they ask “Am I speaking to the owner of the house”, respond with “The owner of the house is speaking”.