Rakshita Kolaskar (name changed) was pleasantly surprised to receive a SMS recently, announcing her as the winner of a $3 million (around Rs 12.5 crore) prize from the Shell International Mobile Draw.
The message prompted her to mail her claim and asked her to call an international number. However, when her excitement died, she tried hard to recall if she ever used any Shell product or service, as the SMS stated.
She soon realised that she had never done so. So why was this SMS sent, especially, when a Shell official confirmed that it had not issued any such award?
Welcome to the world of Vishing or voice phishing, wherein hackers are using a combination of voice over internet protocol (VoIP), SMSs and the internet to fool and redirect users into dialling a phone number and collect critical information for financial gain.
In Kolaskar's case, both mobile spam and vishing were used.
Phishing-related losses have been estimated at $2.8 billion with a single victim losing $1,244 in 2006, compared with $257 in 2005, according to Gartner.
According to some recent reports, phishing attacks on banks have increased since the beginning of the year.
Globally, the first vishing attack was registered in 2006, but there have been reports that these are increasing. Earlier this year, the FBI's internet Crime Centre said it received multiple reports on different variations of vishing. These attacks against US financial institutes and individual users continue to rise.
Many feel that India is a compelling market for this kind of an attack. With almost 8 million subscribers added per month