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What Is Vishing?

Vishing is related to “phishing” scams wherein a fraudster seeks to obtain personal identity information from an unsuspecting victim. Traditional phishing scams use fake mail, email, or computer messages to elicit data from a person such as their SSN, DOB, driver’s license, and other info.

Instead of using written material, vishing uses voice messages or conversations to seek to obtain the confidential information. It is also called “voice phishing” or “v-phishing”, and usually occurs over land line phone calls or cell phone calls.

How Does Vishing Work?

In a vishing scheme, the thief poses as a representative for a legitimate organization such as a bank, mortgage company, sweepstakes company, government agency, or other types of organizations. They then converse with the victim and use deception and fraud to get them to share their bank account numbers, passwords, and other information.

Some vishing groups use “robo-calls," which are pre-recorded voice messages. The scamsters play these messages, which often instruct the person to call another phone number to claim a prize, address an emergency, or other matters that are “urgent.” Once the number is called, it may then ask for personal information such as credit card numbers.

Other vishing scams may use a special phone number that charges you by the minute when you call back. This is known as a “one-ring” scam, as the fraud group may ring your cell phone only once. This causes the cell phone to record the number as a missed call. When you call the number, it may reroute and start charging you for the call.

What Are the Legal Punishments for Vishing?

Legal punishments for persons or groups who are caught engaging in vishing can be serious. They can face misdemeanor charges for criminal fraud, and they may have to pay fines or compensation to the victims. In some cases, jail time can result, especially for widespread scams that have defrauded many people. Felony charges can also result, especially if government agencies have been impersonated in the process.

Lastly, the group or person that perpetrated the vishing scam may be placed on a “Do Not Call" registry. You can report vishing scams to a government agency or to your state’s attorney general office. You can also file a legal claim if the scam has caused you damages in any way.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Vishing Violations?

Vishing is a relatively new type of fraud and can be complicated to deal with. If you need help filing a legal claim due to vishing, you may need to hire a lawyer. A qualified attorney can help represent you in court, and will be able to provide sound legal advice as needed for your case.

Photo of page author Jose Rivera

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 02-03-2014 10:58 AM PST

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