IT News

Protect Yourself:
Stop Scam Phone Calls and Vishing

Vishing* (a combination of the words "voice" and "phishing") is the fraudulent practice of attempting to steal information or gain unauthorized access to your personal information via a telephone call. Attackers use a special technique – caller ID spoofing – to make incoming calls look like they are coming from a legitimate or known phone number. Scammers do this to avoid call blocking and to trick you into answering.

Many of us have received these types of calls recently. Like many other organizations, the University of Miami has been affected by this deceptive practice when our campus numbers are spoofed. You may have received a call from what looks to be a legitimate number (305-284-xxxx or 305-243-xxxx), only to find that it is a scam.

How Can I Protect Myself Against Vishing Attempts?

It is important to remain vigilant and review tips on how to protect yourself: 

  • If you get an illegal call, do not respond in any way. Do not press buttons to speak to someone or to be taken off the call list. You'll just end up getting more unwanted calls.
  • Be suspicious of all unknown callers. People should be just as suspicious of phone calls as they are of emails asking for personal information. Some experts suggest letting all calls from unknown callers go to voicemail. Hang up if you are unsure.
  • Never give out personal information, such as account numbers, social security numbers, mother's maiden names, passwords, or other identifying information in response to unexpected calls or if you are at all suspicious.
  • Do not trust caller ID. Just because your caller ID displays a phone number or name of a legitimate person/company you may recognize, it does not guarantee the call is really coming from that source.
  • Just say no. A legitimate company will never reach out to you to request sensitive information or access to your device. If you get an inquiry from a company or a government agency seeking personal information, hang up and call the phone number on your account statement or on their website and verify the authenticity of the request. Use caution if you are being pressured for information immediately.

If you suspect that you are a victim of vishing, or any other type of cyber or telephone fraud, please contact the UMIT Service Desk immediately at: (305) 284-6565 or help@miami.edu.

Thank you.

 

*Vishing calls are generally made over the Internet. Thousands or millions of these calls can be generated around the world in an instant and are nearly untraceable. Placing these calls is relatively inexpensive, so even a small fraction of responses can make a scam very lucrative. Through the collective efforts of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the attorney generals of ten states, including Florida, action against operations making these types of calls has resulted in millions of dollars in civil penalties; but "vishers" are criminals who are determined on stealing people's information, and they are not dissuaded by government regulations nor using technology to break the rules.