Frontwave Blog

Phishing Attacks: It’s Not Just Emails Anymore

Today, many cybercriminals are “going phishing.” That’s because it’s easy for them to reach a large number of users and it’s easy for the targeted victim to fall for the scam (talk about a win-win for fraudsters!). While you may not be likely to take the bait for the old “Nigerian Prince” scams and know some important tips to protect yourself in the world of cyberspace, cybercriminals are clever. They’re constantly changing up their tactics to get around technology through a variety of online attacks.

Rest assured, we have many layers of protection in place to keep your accounts secure here at Frontwave. But it’s still important to arm yourself with the latest information to help you stay one step ahead.

Phishing, Vishing and Smishing: What’s the Difference?

Phishing is a form of social engineering that can come to your inbox (email phishing), as a text (SMS phishing or smishing), or as a phone call (voice phishing or vishing). All have the end-goal of fooling you into giving up personal information or clicking on a malicious link. Regardless of how fraudsters reach you, once you take the bait, they can wreak havoc -- stealing money from your bank account, maxing out your credit cards, stealing your identity, or even locking you out of your own accounts.

While you might be familiar with some red flags to spot a regular phishing attack, vishing and smishing can be a little harder to identify. Because vishing and smishing attacks come straight to your phone, they tend to take on a more casual tone which is intended to throw you off your game and make you let your guard down.

How to Avoid Smishing and Vishing

Vishing and smishing often work hand in hand. These scams often begin with an informal text directing you to call a number, usually to “fix” an urgent issue. At the other end of the line is a fraudster ready to continue the scam. Other common tactics used in smishing scams are sending texts indicating there is “suspicious activity” on your bank account or sharing tracking information for a shipment with a link to learn more.

Sometimes vishers will call you directly first (usually from a number with a local area code) and ask you to share personal information, download a file in an email or transfer money to cover a fee or help a loved one.

If you suspect a call or text may be a scam, keep these helpful tips in mind:

  • Never share account information, temporary passcodes or other personal information over the phone or email, even if you believe you are communicating with someone you know.
  • Do not click on links sent to your phone. This could be a masked link to download malware on your device.
  • If you receive a threatening call or text, especially from a number you do not recognize, do not reply or hang up the phone. Even responding to a text with “STOP” can let the scammer know your number is active.
  • Look up call back numbers on the company’s website first to confirm it is a real number they use.
  • Be skeptical of texts from 4-digit numbers. These are often used in smishing scams.
  • Ask questions to verify who you are speaking with. Vishers may learn information about you to build trust then use those personal details to trick you into giving up more information.
  • Add your number to the Do Not Call Registry. Once you’re on the list, reputable companies generally will not contact you, which will help you identify fraudulent callers who may be trying to scam you.

Phishing Really Can Happen to Anyone

Remember, Frontwave will never call, text or email you to ask for personal information such as your username, card number or CVV security codes. If you see suspicious activity on your account or believe you may have fallen victim to a scam, contact us immediately at 800.736.4500. We’re here to help.

For more tips on keeping your Frontwave accounts secure, visit our Security Information page.