What is Vishing?

Vishing is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the world. But what is Vishing in actuality? Vishing is the act of tricking someone into disclosing their personal or financial information by calling them on their telephone. It is a form of fraud in which the perpetrator attempts to obtain private information from an individual via the telephone. A vishing call may seem like it is coming from a legitimate organization (e.g., a bank), but it is a scam designed to gain access to your personal information.

Over 59.49 million Americans (or 23%) lost money to vishing in 2021. In addition, there will be 43 million in 2019 and 56 (22%) million in 2020.

You can help protect yourself from vishing attacks by knowing what to look for.

Differences Between Phishing, Vishing, and Smishing Attacks

Around 1990, “phishing” originally appeared to represent fraudsters’ actions as “bait” to seize their targets online. Even today, the phrase is connected to con games that use social engineering to trick victims into falling for a trap.

The phrases “smishing” and “vishing,” which can be categorized as phishing, have emerged with the development of cybercrime.

Here’s a difference in their working:

Phishing Smishing Vishing
Phishing is frequently done through instant chat or email spoofing. It often instructs people to enter information at a phoney website with a similar look and feel to the real one. Smishing is the practice of sending text messages to victims to trick them into clicking on a harmful link or replying with personal information. The entire procedure consists solely of text exchanges. During a vishing attack, vocal contact is made at some point. The purpose of the initial SMS is to lure a possible victim into calling a number so the attackers can proceed with the attack or verify that the number belongs to someone.


Characteristics of a Vishing Attack

  • Personalization – Vishing calls are personalized to sound like they come from a trusted source, such as a bank or government agency.
  • Urgency – Vishing calls often use a sense of urgency to encourage action on behalf of the victim. For example, they may claim an issue with the victim’s account and that they need to act immediately to resolve it.
  • Fear – Vishing calls often use fear tactics to scare victims into making rash decisions or sharing sensitive information over the phone. This could be done by claiming that something terrible will happen if they do not comply with instructions from the caller. It could be having their identity stolen or being arrested for tax fraud if they don’t transfer funds immediately into an account controlled by scammers.

Common Types of Vishing Attacks

Here are some common vishing types that you should be wary of:

Dumpster Diving

In dumpster diving vishing, an attacker, will call you asking for personal information like your social security number and date of birth, etc. Usually attackers may dumpster dive to gather enough information on you to persuade you into believing them, or get your contact in the first place from discarded telephone directories.  

They might ask if someone else has used your credit card before asking you for it again so they can verify it is still active. Once they have this information, they can use it to apply for credit cards under your name without having any documentation proving that you are who you say you are!

VoIP Phone Calls

The most common type of vishing is a phone call from someone claiming to be a representative of a business or bank. The caller will try to get the victim to reveal personal information, such as their social security number, credit card number, or other sensitive information. If a victim does give out personal information, it may be used for identity theft or financial fraud.

Vishing calls can also be made through Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). This technology allows the caller to disguise their location using an internet connection rather than a traditional landline connection. Because VoIP calls are not limited by geographic area, they are often used in vishing scams.


Another way scammers trick people into giving up their personal information is through wardialing. Wardialing is when someone calls random phone numbers, searching for an open phone line so they can connect with it and gain access to computers connected to that line. The hacker then uses the key to steal personal information from the computer or network.

Caller ID spoofing

Caller ID spoofing lets scammers make it look like they’re calling from your bank or credit card company, even when they aren’t. Scammers use this technique to trick you into offering up personal information, such as passwords or account numbers, over the phone. It’s easy for them because you’ve already given them the information they need when you signed up for their service or set up your account with them.

How to Prevent Vishing Attacks?

Here’s how you can save yourself from being a victim of a vishing attack:

  • If you’re worried about vishing, being proactive is the best way to protect yourself.
  • Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers. You can ensure your number is unavailable online if your number is listed.
  • Calls from unknown numbers should be hung up immediately if they ask for personal information, such as your credit card number, Social Security number, or PIN.
  • If you’re suspicious of any phone call that comes in, call the company on its official number to see if it’s legitimate.
  • If you’re worried about fraud or identity theft after speaking with someone over the phone, contact your bank and credit card companies immediately to report any suspicious activity.


Phishing is one of the first fraudster tactics, dating back to the pre-digital period. With the spread of network-based communications and data, it is now simpler for attackers to imitate actual calls. Nevertheless, vishing can be avoided by exercising caution in one’s personal and professional life. Such attacks can be avoided by scrutinising every telephone conversation and by never discussing sensitive information over the phone.

For protection against other types of email-based attacks like phishing, spoofing and social engineering, get in touch with our DMARC advisors today!


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