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Protecting Yourself From Vishing Attacks

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May 19, 2009 4:00 AM PDT

Protecting yourself from vishing attacks

by Marguerite Reardon

"You might have heard about online "phishing" scams designed to steal money from unsuspecting Web users, but now criminals are using another type of scam called "vishing" to commit the same crimes.

Last week, the Federal Trade Commission filed lawsuits against two telemarketing firms in Florida and a company claiming to sell extended automobile warranties for violating the Do Not Call registry and fraud for selling bogus warranties for between $2,000 and $3,000 a pop. Since 2007, the companies supposedly made 1 billion calls and generated more than $10 billion.

These companies likely used spoofed caller ID numbers to hide their identities from consumers and law enforcement authorities.

The case is the latest example in what is known as vishing attacks, which use the phone network to swindle people out of money. To help readers understand what these scams are, how they work and how they can protect themselves. CNET News has put together this FAQ.

What is vishing? The term "vishing" is a socially engineered technique for stealing information or money from consumers using the telephone network. The term comes from combining "voice" with "phishing," which are online scams that get people to give up personal information.

How does it work? Typically attackers use a technique called caller ID spoofing to make it look like calls are coming from a legitimate or known phone number. It's a very similar technique to email spoofing, which makes e-mail addresses look like they are coming from a trusted source. But because people typically trust the phone service and caller ID, spoofing phone numbers can be particularly damaging."

More detail at CNET - http://news.cnet.com/security

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