Phone Scam Methods

Before we talk about how to protect yourself from phone scams, it is important to know the two different types. Because we receive both phone calls and text messages regularly, scammers have found ways to contact us one way or another. During this lesson we will discuss the difference between Vishing attacks and Smishing attacks. Although the names sound funny and made-up, they are both important to know about to identify potential phone scams.


Vishing comes from the phrase “voice phishing”, which is when scammers will try to contact you by calling your phone. ​For example, if someone calls you claiming to be from the CRA and stating that you must pay money to avoid arrest, this would be an attempt at a Vishing attack. These attempts will be made by talking to you one-on-one where the scammer will attempt to have you provide personal information or credit card details.

Below are 3 examples of what a Vishing attempt could sound like:

Vishing message that says Call from our department is to inform you that there's a legal enforcement actions filed on your social security number for fraudulent activities. So when you get this message currently call back at the earliest possible on our number before we begin with the legal.
Vishing message that says Suspicious activities in your account while processing the payment so in order to cancel your order kindly press on to speak with Amazon fraud department thank you.
Vishing message that says My name is Mike Miller giving you a notification call from our Department of tax debt and financial settlement services there are new program that can help you reduce or eliminate your debt completely it is possible that your tax debt can now be considered temporary Lee noncollectible you can call me back at my personal desk.



Smishing comes from the phrase “SMS phishing”, which is when scammers will send and SMS or text messages​. These messages often try to appear like the message is coming from a larger company. For example, you may receive a message from a bank claiming that your account has been suspended and you are asked to provide billing information. Smishing attempts will request that you click on a link to collect your information or account passwords by directing you to fake web forms that they want you to fill out.

Below are 3 examples of what a Smishing attempt could look like:

Smishing message that says You've missed our delivery, to redeliver your parcel please visit link and confirm the cost of redelivery (1.45)
Smishing message that says [JP MORGAN ONLINE]: Your debit card has been blocked. Verify your details via link to unblock your card.
Smishing message that says Netflix: Please update your membership with us to continue watching.


Do any of these look familiar? These are some common phone scam attempts. But the good news is, once we are able to identify them we can protect ourselves. Move on the next lesson to learn common phone scams that are currently happening.