Exploration of Phishing, SMiShing and Vishing Scams

Prevalent Phone & Internet Scams: Detection and avoidance of Phishing, SMiShing and Vishing scams.

Prevalent Internet Scams – Phishing Scam, SMiShing Scam and Vishing Scam for Dummies

Security has been the most crucial and criticized aspect of the internet from day one. For every technological advancement in modern computers, hackers have been on their heels, capable of finding any and all cracks in the system. But it’s not just hackers we have to worry about.

We’ve been told time and time again to fabricate strong passwords and never, ever give out our login and password information to anyone, for any reason, no matter what. Yet time and again, individuals are doing just that; handing out that information to anyone or any website that manages to convince us they are worthy of it.

The Most Prevalent Phone & Internet Scams of 2019

Such scams have earned variable names over the years. Originally, they were called Phishing Scams. As schemers evolved, other forms came to be known as SMiShing Scams and Vishing Scams. If you don’t know what they are, you won’t know how to avoid them, so pay close attention to the next few segments as we teach you to recognize and stave off the internet’s worst scammers.

What is a Phishing Scam?

This is a common scam in which the culprits send out emails to millions if not billions of mostly-valid addresses. It’s called “phishing” because they idea is to drop a wide net in hopes of hooking just a few vulnerable victims. The goal is to obtain personal information from those who take the bait – name, address, date of birth, username, password, etc. Anything they can gather is a win in their books.

You can easily recognize phishing schemes by looking for the following indications:

  • Email warns of a consequence that will occur soon if action is not taken to fix an issue (i.e. account suspension, late fee, etc.). The email will contain a link to correct the problem, leading to a look-alike website.
  • Email promises a reward of some type, often in cash (prize, refund, etc.), for your quick response. Again, the email contains a link to a look-alike website.
  • Text is riddled with incorrect spelling of titles, bad grammar, poor choice of words, confusing terminology, etc.
  • Your personal account information is missing from the email. Your name, username, or any other identifying terms are notably lacking and/or generic in reference (i.e. they clearly don’t know who you are).
  • Link leads to a website URL that does not match that of the intended company that supposedly sent the email.

Do not click on any links provided in any emails that seem remotely suspicious! When in doubt, contact the company that supposedly sent the email directly to ask if the email is genuine.

What is a SMiShing Scam?

A SMiShing scam – a combination of the terms SMS and Phishing – is a message sent via text that requests the receiver visit a certain website or call a phone number to resolve an issue or receive a reward. Visiting the website may result in malware being downloaded on your computer. Call the phone number, and you’ll be asked to provide sensitive information to confirm your identity.

Be especially wary of such suspicious text messages. While today’s internet users are usually smart enough to avoid email scams, text messages tend to appear less threatening. Be careful out there! If the message seems to come from your bank, for example, don’t call the number provided. Call them back at a number you know and trust.

What is a Vishing Scam?

Vishing schemes are also similar to phishing scams except that that take place over the telephone. We’ve all gotten them. If you’re like me, you get them multiple times a day. They come from masked phone numbers that appear to be legitimate, but they’re not. They are scammers trying to convince you to give them your personal information, a credit card number, or transfer them money. Sadly, many of them take on the deceptive roll of a worthy charitable service, so keep your guard up!

The caller could be a real person or a recorded message that tells you to press a button to be connected, or call them back at a certain number. Don’t press that button. Don’t call that number. If you want to confirm the (il)legitimacy of the call, find the appropriate number for the company that claims to be contacting you and call them directly.

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