Hello? Four Clues to Identifying Phone Fraud at Work

Cyber Security
Written By:
Written by: Karl Peterson, SVP, Chief Information Security Officer
Person on phone while at computer

It’s harder at work to spot a phone scam because we answer unexpected phone calls all the time. So before you answer your next call, take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with how to spot a phone scam at work: also called social engineering, or vishing.

Crafty scammers do their research about you and your company—often readily available through online searches. They call hoping to add to what they know with the goal to gain enough information to pose as you to open credit accounts, redirect existing accounts, gain access to your company network or other deceitful acts—all for financial gain. Many times attackers will use social media as a reconnaissance tool to socially engineer their targets. Be careful what type of information you are sharing to the Internet.

Review these helpful tips to assist you when receiving an unsolicited call:

  • Name dropping.  It’s a strong sign a caller could be up to no good if they begin reciting the names of people you work with or who are leaders in your company. This is often available from your company  website or social media pages.
  • Call-back number. There’s no quicker way to get a scam-artist off the phone than to ask for a call-back number. It’s common for social engineers to block or scramble the number of the phone they’re calling from so they cannot easily be called back.
  • A little too charming? ‘Pouring it on too thick’ can be an understatement for some telephone hustlers. Their goal is to disarm you and remove any doubt about what they’re up to—so be cautious.
  • Pushy and obnoxious. Are they speaking authoritatively and trying to intimidate you into releasing confidential information? People who don’t like confrontation are often prone to giving up information to keep a caller calm. Don’t give in.

We’re all busy at work and sometimes our guard is down when we answer the phone. So be vigilant, and don’t assume the voice on the other end of the phone call has good intentions.