Cheap long distance, the ability to spoof caller ID and the credit crisis are being used to facilitate a scam called vishing. Although telephone (telemarketing) scams are nothing new, the term vishing probably came about because advances in telephone technology are being used to depart unsuspecting people of their hard-earned money.
The term vishing was coined from the word phishing. Internet scammers phish the waters of the Internet using spam e-mail as bait. Once a person falls for their "too good to be true" lure, personal and financial information is stolen using social engineering (trickery) or malicious software designed to data-mine the information right off the infected machine. The personal and financial information is then used to commit financial crimes, which is often referred to as identity theft.
In the past week, I've received several calls where a computerized voice informs me that the offer to lower my interest rate is almost over. It then says to press "1" if I want to lower my interest rate.
I went ahead and pressed the number "1" to see what this "too good to be true" offer was all about. After a few seconds, a female voice came on and asked me if I was interested in lowering my interest rate. I told her I was and she asked me for the 800 number of my financial institution so she could verify my eligibility. Since this is public information, I went ahead and gave one to an institution I no longer do business with. While I was digging up the number on the Internet, she made a lot of inquires about how many lines of credit I was behind on. After providing her with the 800 number, she asked me to give her all the credit card numbers that I wanted to lower the interest rate on.