Isn’t the world a lovely place where so many people call me up to tell me I have problems with my tax, bank, Internet and even my car insurance!

Recently, I have personally experienced a significant rise in the number of nice people telling me I have run into problems with the #ATO #AFP #MICROSOFT #ANZ and even the #NBN over the course of just a few weeks.

The thing is that I didn’t have those problems in the first place, and they were merely #vishing (voice phishing) attempts trying to exploit specific human vulnerabilities.

So if you get a call from a number you do not recognise (even mobile phone numbers), keep in mind the next few tips to determine whether you are the target of a voice phishing attack:

If the ‘accent’ doesn’t match the ‘name’.

Most of these operations are based overseas, and they try and rely upon a well recognised global brand to disguise themselves. A person named “James Brooks” from Microsoft with a thick Indian accent should be your first warning queue.

It all starts with a automated voice message.

In most cases, the call will start off with a automated voice message which will prompt you to take action to ‘talk’ to a human.

This is done because of two different reasons: (1) it screens out anyone who is already onto them (remember – time is money); and (2) it adds a sense of ‘credibility’ to their attempt as machines don’t lie.

OMG the building is on fire!

A lot of these #vishing attempts try and create a sense of urgency and panic. Either you will not have your mobile/internet connection from tomorrow; have a virus; or need to pay a substantial penalty because you didn’t file a return.

They will intentionally create a sense of complexity and chaos, demanding you take urgent action to avoid major recourse.

Money is a PLUS, not necessarily the main objective

You may think that these scammers are after your money but in fact, they are after any personal detail you are willing to provide.

Your name, DOB, address, primary bank, Tax File Number etc. is much easier to obtain than a credit card / financial payment.

Plus – these personal details will ensure that any future attacks become more sophisticated thus improving their likelihood to succeed (at your cost of course).

Remember – the number of calls are increasing because more people are falling victim to these #socialengineering attacks. Keep vigilant and always QUESTION what you can’t see.