ALEXANDRIA, Va. (2/8/08)—The National Credit Union Administration (NCUIA) has warned credit unions that “vishing” attacks are on the rise—scams that use telephone systems to garner confidential identification information. As with “phishing” which uses electronic contacts, in vishing attacks crooks claim to be with legitimate financial institutions or other entities. They ask consumers to “verify” or “re-submit” personal information such as bank account and credit card numbers, Social Security Numbers, passwords, and personal identification numbers The NCUA fraud alert explains that vishing scams use of social engineering and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology to exploits the public's trust in landline telephone services. “The victim is often unaware that VoIP allows for caller ID spoofing thus providing anonymity for the criminal caller,” the alert noted. The NCUA said vishing is attractive to criminals because VoIP service is fairly inexpensive, especially for long distance, making it cheap to make fake calls. Also, because it’s Web-based, criminals can use software programs to create phony automated customer call center service lines. The NCUA advised that, for their protections, consumers should be” highly suspicious” when receiving messages—via telephone, email, or otherwise--directing them to call and provide personal, confidential, and/or account related information For their part, credit union managers must, where appropriate file a Suspicious Activity Report in accordance with established regulation. As specified by NCUA Rules & Regulations Part 748, management must provide notice to the appropriate NCUA Regional Director, and in the case of state-chartered credit unions, to their state supervisory authority. Management is advised also to contact and file a report with local law enforcement authorities. The NCUA said it will continue to follow the issue and provide information as the situation warrants. Late last month, the agency sounded the alarm about a new scam in which fraudulent wire transfers have been performed on home equity lines of credit (HELOC) at several financial institutions, including credit unions.