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  • Writer's pictureBurton Kelso, Tech Expert

How to Protect Yourself from AI-Based Smishing & Vishing Scams

Phishing remains one of the most prevalent threats cybercriminals utilize to breach homes and businesses. global organizations. Year over year, there is a continued increase in the number of phishing attacks which now with the help of AI are becoming more sophisticated in nature with criminals using ChatGPT and other tools to create voice cloning and deep fake scam attacks as their method of attack. Here's what you need to know to protect yourself:

Email was the preferred method of phishing attacks, but crooks are now using smishing and vishing attacks. The main difference between smishing and vishing is that smishing is a phishing attack that uses SMS text message as the contact method and vishing uses voice calls as the contact method. Attacks are becoming trickier to detect because criminals are taking advantage of AI. Crooks can use AI to duplicate voice snippets of office team members as well as family members in a home. They can also use AI tools to craft SMS messages to trick people. In these attacks, recipients are pressured into taking action, like transferring money to a distressed co-worker or a family friend, signing up for fake services, or providing credentials.

You can protect yourself from SMShing and Vishing attacks by taking the following steps:

Don’t answer unknown calls or text messages: One of the best ways to protect yourself from vishing attacks is by not answering phone calls from unknown callers. Only answer calls from people you have saved in your contact list, if possible.

Be wary of AI impersonation: Vishing attacks have gotten more sophisticated and realistic lately because of the rise of Chat GPT and Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI can imitate real voices based on audio clips and threat actors can use this technique to impersonate someone the targeted victim knows.

Don’t click on strange links in text messages: Clicking on links and attachments you’re not sure about can lead to your device being infected with malware, placing all of your sensitive data at risk of being stolen. Before clicking on unsolicited links, check to see if the link is safe by hovering your mouse over it or using a URL checker.

Don’t give out personal information: Another common thing you should be on the lookout for is a request for your personal information. A threat actor pretending to be from a company you have an account with may ask you to confirm a few details. If you respond to this request, your accounts are at risk of becoming compromised and your identity is at risk of being stolen.

Go to the source: If you receive a text message claiming to be your bank or another company you have an account with, go to their legitimate website yourself. This prevents you from clicking on suspicious links and ensures you’re using the actual company’s website, rather than a spoofed one. If you wish to contact the company to ask them about the text message you were sent, it’s best to call the phone number listed on the legitimate company website.

Get a call blocker: A call-blocking service prevents scammers from being able to call you. Some phone service providers, like AT&T and T-Mobile, offer call-blocking services that you can add to your phone plan. While call-blocking services won’t prevent scam calls altogether, they will prevent the majority of them, which helps protect you from vishing attacks.

Hopefully, this post has given you the information you need to stay safe from the dangers of vishing and phishing scams. If you need further assistance, please reach out to me with any questions you might have. I am always happy to help!

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