Understanding Phishing, Vishing, and Smishing
Phishing (pronounced "fishing") is a scam to steal valuable information such as credit card and Social Security numbers, user IDs, and passwords. In phishing, also known as "brand spoofing," an official-looking e-mail is sent to potential victims pretending to be from their ISP, credit union, bank, or retail establishment. E-mails can be sent to people on selected lists or on any list, and the scammers expect some percentage of recipients will actually have an account with the real organization.
Land Line Telephone Vishing & VoIP (Internet Phones) Vishing
Vishing (Voice phISHING), also called "VoIP phishing for Internet phones," is the voice counterpart to phishing. Instead of being directed by e-mail to a Web site, an e-mail message asks the user to make a telephone call. The call triggers a voice response system that asks for the user's card number or other personal or financial information. The initial bait can also be a telephone call with a recording that instructs the user to phone an 800 number or another area code within or outside of the United States.
In either case, because people are used to entering card numbers over the phone, this technique can be effective. Voice over IP (VoIP) is used for vishing because caller IDs can be spoofed and the entire operation can be brought up and taken down in a short time, compared to a land line telephone.
Text Message Smishing
Smishing (SMS phISHING) is the mobile phone counterpart to phishing. Instead of being directed by e-mail to a Web site, a text message is sent to the user's cell phone or other mobile device with some ploy to click on a link. The link causes a Trojan to be installed in the cell phone or other mobile device.
Mail Letter Phishing
This new scam occurs where the phisher is creating a letter and sending it through the mail to individuals to respond to the letter by calling a phone number. The phisher outlines in the letter that the individual must respond for their own protection. This scam is used in conjunction with other channels to steal valuable personal and financial information of the individual receiving the letter.
NASA Federal will never send an e-mail or call you to verify your account information. Be sure to use only the phone numbers that you know to be true for the Credit Union when responding to phone messages. If you have responded to such an e-mail or phone scam and provided any confidential account information, please notify NASA Federal immediately at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 301-249-1800 or toll-free at