By Corey Skrede, Account Executive, Locknet Managed IT

In the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats, criminals are constantly finding new and inventive ways to exploit vulnerabilities. Two such methods, vishing and smishing, have emerged as potent weapons in their arsenal. In this blog, we’ll delve into what vishing and smishing entail, provide real-life examples of common scams, and equip you with practical strategies to shield yourself from falling victim to these deceptive practices.

Understanding Vishing and Smishing


Vishing, short for voice phishing, is a social engineering technique where fraudsters use phone calls or voicemail messages to impersonate legitimate organizations, such as banks, government agencies, or companies. They aim to manipulate individuals into divulging sensitive information like passwords, credit card numbers, or social security numbers.


Smishing, short for SMS phishing, involves sending deceptive phishing text messages to mobile users. These text message scams often contain links or prompts that, once interacted with, can lead to malicious websites or trick users into revealing personal information.

Common vishing and smishing scams

Be on the lookout for these common voice phishing and SMS phishing scams.

Fake bank calls. In a typical vishing scenario, a fraudster might impersonate a bank representative, urgently claiming that there is suspicious activity on the victim’s account. They’ll then request sensitive information, such as passwords or social security numbers, under the guise of resolving the issue.

Technical support. Someone receives a call with an offer to assist with a technical issue on their computer they weren’t aware of. Victims are often asked to install software or give the fraudster remote access to their computer.

Contest winnings. In smishing scams, victims may receive a text message claiming they’ve won a contest or prize, but to claim it, they need to provide personal information or pay a fee. This preys on the desire for sudden windfalls, tricking recipients into revealing sensitive details.

Shipping confirmations. The scammer sends a text with a link to track a package from somewhere the victim often shops. The link may ask for login credentials or install malicious software on the device.

Government agency threats. Scammers posing as government agencies might call or text individuals, claiming they owe back taxes or have outstanding legal issues. They’ll threaten severe consequences if immediate payment or personal information isn’t provided.


Protecting yourself from vishing and smishing

Here are some tips to help protect yourself from vishing and smishing scams.

  • Verify caller identity. Always verify the identity of callers, especially if they request sensitive information. Use official contact numbers obtained from official websites or documents.
  • Beware of urgency or pressure tactics. Scammers often use urgency to manipulate victims. Be cautious of calls or messages that demand immediate action or threaten dire consequences.
  • Avoid clicking suspicious links. Don’t click on links in unsolicited text messages. If you receive a message from an unknown source, verify the sender’s legitimacy before taking any action.
  • Enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). Implement MFA wherever possible, as it adds an extra layer of security by requiring a second form of authentication, typically from a device or source you trust.
  • Install and update security software. Ensure you have reputable security software on your devices, and keep it updated to protect against malware and phishing attempts. Don’t delay updates to your phone.
  • Protect your personal information. Never give out personally identifiable information such as account numbers, social security numbers, and passwords to people you don’t know.
  • Educate yourself and others. Stay informed about common scams and share this knowledge with friends, family, and colleagues. Awareness is a powerful defense against social engineering attacks.

Stay informed and stay vigilant!

Vishing and smishing are increasingly sophisticated techniques employed by cybercriminals to exploit unsuspecting individuals. By understanding the nature of these scams and implementing proactive protective measures, you can reduce your chances of falling prey to these deceptive practices. Remember, awareness and vigilance are the strongest shield against social engineering attacks.