Vishing

You might have heard about online "phishing" scams designed to steal money from unsuspecting Web users, but now criminals are using a phone scam called "vishing" to commit the same crimes. The term comes from combining "voice" with "phishing."

Attackers make it look like calls are coming from a legitimate or known phone number. They may ask people to provide credit card numbers, PIN codes, and/or Social Security numbers to verify their account or they provide another number where the consumer is to call to provide account details.

How to Avoid Vishing

Be aware: Consumers need to know that these scams exist. To find out more information, go to the FTC Website.

Be suspicious of all unknown callers: People should be just as suspicious of phone calls as they are of e-mails asking for personal information. Let calls from unknown callers go to voicemail.

Don't trust caller ID: Just because your caller ID displays a phone number or name of a legitimate company, it doesn't guarantee the call is really coming from that company.

Ask questions: If someone is trying to sell you something or asking for your personal or financial information, ask them to identify who they work for, and then check them out to see if they are legitimate.

Call them back: Tell them you will call them back and then either verify the company is legitimate, or if it's a bank or credit card company, call them back using a number from your bill or your card.

Guard your information: Never provide credit card information or other private information to anyone who calls you.

Do Not Call Registry: Register your number with the National Do Not Call registry at donotcall.gov. If you are on the list and get a call from a supposed telemarketer, that could be a tip that the offer is bogus.

Report incidents: Report vishing calls to www.ftc.gov or call 1.888.382.1222. If you think you've been a victim of a vishing attack you, can also contact, the Internet Crime Complaint Center.