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Top 10 Brand Protection Responses to Vishing & Smishing Fraud Attacks

Brands face an array of modern threats, including vishing and smishing fraud attacks. These attacks not only pose a risk to your customers, but can also cause significant damage to your brand's reputation.

In this blog, we will explore the top 10 brand protection responses to these threat:

Understanding Vishing & SMSishing Fraud Attacks  

Vishing and smishing are forms of phishing attacks that use voice calls and SMS messages, respectively, to trick individuals into revealing sensitive information.

It may seem hard to remember the terms, but you can think of them this way: "Phishing" is a play on the word "fishing," as these attacks involve "baiting" victims into divulging their personal details. "Vishing" is short for "voice phishing," while "smishing" comes from "SMS phishing.”

In a vishing attack, cybercriminals use automated and/or human generated calls (aka robocalls) to impersonate legitimate businesses or authorities. They might claim there's an issue with the victim's account, or promise rewards to lure the victim into sharing their personal or financial information. It’s anticipated that fraud calls like this will skyrocket in the upcoming AI era.

Smishing attacks, on the other hand, involve fraudulent text messages (aka SMS messages). These messages often contain a sense of urgency, prompting the recipient to click on a link or call a number. The link might lead to a fake website designed to steal the victim's information, or it could download malware onto the victim's device.

These attacks can cause significant harm to brands. Often, to gain trust, cybercriminals impersonate a brand — such as your brand. Customers who fall victim to these attacks often associate their negative experience with the impersonated brand — even when the brand had no involvement in the attack. This erodes customer trust in your brand, and can lead to decreased sales, bad PR, and a tarnished reputation.

Moreover, brands may face legal consequences if they fail to protect their customers from such attacks. Regulatory bodies around the world — particularly the FTC and FCC in this US recently — are imposing stricter data protection and privacy laws, and non-compliance can result in hefty fines.

But all is not lost — brands can take proactive steps to protect themselves… and their customers.

Top 10 Brand Protection Responses To Vishing & Smishing Fraud Attacks

Every brand needs brand protection against vishing and smishing attacks, and there are proactive steps you can take now. Here are the top 10 brand protection responses to these threats:

  1. Educate Your Customers: Make it a priority for your communications teams to regularly inform your customers about the risks of vishing and smishing attacks, how to identify them, and how to respond. Regularly share tips and updates on your website, social media platforms, and newsletters.
  2. Monitor Your Brand's Presence: Setup an automated, intelligent monitoring system to immediately identify when your brand’s name is being used, either in voice calls, in SMS messages, on social media, or in emails. Modern brand monitoring tools can detect unauthorized or misleading use of your brand's name or logo rapidly.
  3. Have a Response Plan: You’ll likely need a PR plan for a specific incident response. In addition, you will want a day-to-day plan for your customer service team to handle inbound calls from customers who have been scammed. Have both plans ready as soon as possible, so you can respond quickly to both minor and major vishing or smishing attacks. This could involve press releases, proactively notifying customers, resetting account credentials, credits investigating the source of the attack, and much more.
  4. Prioritize Support to Affected Customers: You may have a plan to help customers, but you may also need to prioritize support for them. Offer quick, thorough assistance to customers who have fallen victim to vishing & smishing attacks. This could include guiding them through the process of reporting the incident, securing their accounts, and helping them recover from any losses.
  5. Work with Your Legal Team: Have the legal team check out every elements, from the new FCC regulations, to the FTC updates and lawsuits, to the requirements for security from Executive Orders, to customer communications and more. They may also be able to provide rough estimates of certain costs to the brand — such as regulatory challenges or fines — that may help management prioritize the necessary communication and security protocols.
  6. Schedule Periodic Security Protocol Updates: As cyberthreats evolve, your security measures must as well. With rapid technological changes, you need to have a review schedule to update security protocols, either ongoing, or at set intervals.
  7. Promote Safe Communication Practices: Encourage customers to use secure communication channels and to verify any suspicious emails, calls, or messages before responding.
  8. Work with Law Enforcement & Regulators: Report incidents to relevant authorities — sometimes the FTC, sometimes the FCC, sometimes the FBI, sometimes each entity should be contacted — to help track down the fraudsters. This not only aids in the investigation but also demonstrates your commitment to protecting your customers.
  9. Coordinate Your Strategy: Coordinate between Finance, IT, Security, Communications, Marketing, and Management in order to assure your strategy is funded, with each team on the same page.
  10. Leverage Machine Learning and AI: Use advanced technologies to detect and prevent fraudulent activities. Machine learning and AI can analyze large volumes of data to identify patterns and anomalies that might indicate a vishing or smishing attack.

By implementing these strategies, brands can effectively respond to vishing and smishing attacks, protecting their customers and their reputation.

Consider A Brand Protection Partner

Partnering with a brand protection partner (such as YouMailPS) can provide an additional layer of protection, reduce your budget needs, and may also offer features that a single company could not attain on their own. For example, YouMailPS works closely with their consumer arm, YouMail, to supply audio analytics which allows the almost instantly alert of a fraudulent brand mention. The best partner organizations specialize in detecting and eliminating imposter and fraudulent communications and can supplement in-house efforts for more comprehensive — and cost-effective — brand protection.

Vishing and smishing fraud attacks pose a significant threat to brands. Don't let your brand fall victim to vishing and smishing fraud attacks. Contact YouMailPS today to learn more about our solutions for securing trusted mobile networks.

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