What Exactly Is Vishing?

To understand vishing you may need to do a little background reading first in order to understand it’s sibling, phishing. If so, then you need to read – Phishing. What Is It And How Can You Avoid It.



How does vishing get it’s name? Well, it comes from the previously mentioned phishing in connection with the word ‘voice’ or the term ‘VOIP’. (VOIP is Voice Over Internet Protocol if you didn’t already know).

Vishing is, in many ways, similar to phishing in that it is an attempt to extract personal and/or financial information from the intended victim.

Unlike phishing, however, it is not undertaken through websites or via email but by telephony instead. A vishing attempt can be conducted via different mediums, such as landline, cell phone, voicemail or voice over internet protocol.


Much like phishing via email. the potential victim will be led to believe that there is some sort of problem, usually with their credit card or bank account.

The difference being that they will receive this message via phone – usually it will be an automated message using a digital voice in order to mask the scammer’s identity.

The message will inform the potential victim that they need to take some sort of action, such as calling a specific number, and that they will then need to prove their identity and verify their account details in order to block some sort of fraud attempt.

Hows that for irony?

Even if the perpetrator is using a digital voice you may be wondering how he remain anonymous in this age of caller IDs. The answer to that is simple – he spoofs the caller ID so that the call appears to have originated elsewhere, such as the very financial institution he is claiming to represent.


Vishing is a very difficult crime for the authorities to trace, especially when VOIP is utilised as it is largely anonymous and can be accessed from anywhere in the world.

The better alternative, of course, is to avoid falling prey to vishing in the first place. More on that tomorrow…

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.


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