Vishing, (or voice phishing) happens when you receive a call on your home phone or mobile device, from someone pretending to be from a trusted source, like your bank. But is the voice on the other end really from your bank or is it just another identity thief fishing for your account information?

How Does Vishing Work?

When thieves go vishing, they’ll call people using an automated system and leave messages saying there’s a problem with your bank account or ATM card. The call will then direct you to a phone number or website that will ask for personal account information to verify your identity, but again, they’re not verifying anything, they’re stealing your account information. Then they’re going to steal your money.

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How Much Damage Can Vishing Cause?

According to an FBI scam alert, vishing victims reported having money illegally withdrawn from their accounts within 10 minutes of receiving the vishing call, and another of having “thousands of fraudulent withdrawls”1 following a vishing call. If the transaction is done from a smartphone, it’s also possible for thieves to gain access to all the information stored on the phone, as well.

Information thieves can collect:

  • Personal information
  • Account numbers and information
  • PIN

What thieves can do with this information:

  • Identity theft
  • Bank fraud
  • Other identity fraud


Federal Trade Commission. “Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book For
January – December 2011.” February 2012.

Javelin Strategy & Research. "2012 Identity Fraud Report: Social Media and Mobile Forming
the New Fraud Frontier." February 2012.

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