In the realm of virtual fraud, it’s safe to say that scammers demonstrate great ingenuity. Phishing, a technique involving the sending of fraudulent emails to extract personal information, is well known. But did you know there are two other types of digital scams: vishing and smishing? Behind these elaborate terms lie clever schemes to capture private data and, of course, misuse it. Let’s explore together how to differentiate between these traps and avoid falling victim.
Differences Between Phishing, Vishing, and Smishing
Emails, voice messages, or text messages – phishing, vishing, and smishing all use various technological channels. What makes them dangerous is their accessibility and their form. These scams work by impersonating trustworthy contacts, making it easy for unsuspecting users to fall into their traps.
Phishing involves sending emails, often alarming ones, under the guise of a familiar company. For instance, you might receive a fraudulent alert from someone posing as your bank, urging you to take an action that contradicts the secure practices of financial institutions. This could involve divulging your online banking password or your credit card number.
Vishing utilizes phone calls (landline and mobile) to transmit fraudulent messages. The caller might claim there’s an issue with a recent payment you made or inform you that you’ve won a contest. Again, they’ll coax you into providing personal information to steal your identity. These callers may pose as helpful individuals trying to assist you in resolving the supposed problem.
Smishing involves sending SMS or text messages containing a link to click or a number to call, often with an urgent tone, pressuring you to take immediate action to avoid fees, for example.
For a company, a successful fraud attempt can pose a significant threat to employees, the company itself, as well as its partners and clients. Here are ways to protect yourself from phishing, vishing, and smishing.
How to Avoid Falling Victim to Phishing, Vishing, or Smishing
To protect yourself, the first step is to verify the sender’s identity, especially if the information they ask for encroaches on your privacy.
- if the email domain seems suspicious (e.g., “Goog1e” with numbers instead of letters),
- if the sender’s name contains errors,
- or if the email address appears unprofessional,
it’s likely the email is dubious.
When in doubt, call the institution using a phone number you find independently, not one provided in the email.
If you receive a suspicious link in a text message or email, refrain from clicking it. These links serve as gateways for hackers to access your personal information.
To avoid phone scams, consider not answering unknown calls or calls flagged as spam on your mobile device. If you receive a voicemail instructing you to call back a number, do not do so without verifying the legitimacy of the institution mentioned.
What to Do After Falling Victim to Phishing, Vishing, or Smishing
However, some current messages closely resemble official communications. If you or one of your employees accidentally clicked a link, take immediate action:
- conduct antivirus scans on your systems,
- block your company’s credit cards,
- change passwords and authentication methods for your computer tools,
- isolate affected parts of your IT network if possible,
- consult an expert to assess the damage.
You might need to reinstall software and restore backups once the attack is eliminated. Ensure all your systems are up-to-date for optimal protection.
Preventing Cyber Threats with IT Support from an Outsourced Service
Educating your teams and installing effective protection systems on your IT network remain the best ways to safeguard against cyberattacks. For example, you can educate your employees about fraud detection principles and best practices when suspicions arise. To ensure high-level security for your IT infrastructure, entrust its safety to an outsourced IT company like DMIB. They regularly back up your systems, monitor intrusions, and employ highly effective protection measures such as firewalls and antivirus software.