SOURCE: Elephant Talk Communications

Elephant Talk Communications

November 09, 2010 04:00 ET

Vishing and Smishing Are on the Rise: ValidSoft Technology Can Protect Consumers and Banks

LONDON--(Marketwire - November 9, 2010) -  Consumers and banks are increasingly falling victim to fraudulent calls or text messages sent to people's phones using techniques known as 'vishing' and 'smishing.' Believing that the messages are legitimate, consumers respond by divulging such sensitive information as bank accounts and credit card numbers, enabling the criminals to steal money or go on spending sprees with stolen credit card numbers. The FBI warns of an alarming rise in such attacks (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/01/21/fbi_vishing_warning/). And in the latest widespread crime spree, victims were hit all across the United States, from Illinois to Utah (http://www.bankinfosecurity.com/articles.php?art_id=2896&rf=2010-09-07-eb). "Without new technology to spot and stop these attacks, we're all vulnerable to these sophisticated criminal schemes," warns electronic fraud expert and CEO of ValidSoft Pat Carroll. ValidSoft (www.validsoft.com) is a subsidiary of Elephant Talk communications (OTCBB: ETAK) (www.elephanttalk.com).

In the typical vishing or smishing scam, criminals use an automated system to call or text people in a region. In some cases, the thieves have already stolen a list of phone numbers from a bank or other financial institution. The call or text will say something like: "Your credit card (or bank account) has had some unusual activity that we think may be fraudulent. Please call the following number to verify the transactions." Or it might say: "Your account has been suspended. Please call this number to reactivate."

When the worried victim calls the number, an automated system asks for credit card or bank account information. If provided, this key information goes straight to the bad guys. "By offering the information, consumers think that they're trying to prevent fraud," explains Carroll. "In fact, they're playing right into the hands of the thieves."

When the scam involves a phone call, it's called 'vishing' (for 'voice' & 'phishing'). When text messages are used, the scheme is called 'smishing,' after the technical term for such text messages -- Short Message Service or SMS. "By either name, it's a growing threat, especially as more and more banks offer text-based banking," says Carroll.

But there is a way to combat this threat. ValidSoft has developed a system that enables consumers to make sure that they are communicating only with their real banks -- and enables banks to know who are the legitimate customers. The service, known as VALid®, works by offering a mutual, multi-factor authentication and transaction verification process that combats fraud across multiple banking channels (Web, phone (cell or landline) and call center). It protects banks' customers that use online banking, M-banking, telephone banking and contact centers.

"The technology's Transaction Verification not only authenticates the customers, but also ensures the integrity of the transaction detail itself. This counters phishing, vishing, smishing and other more sophisticated fraud attacks. This solution increases consumer confidence, reduces operational costs and protects the integrity of electronic transactions," said Carroll.

About Elephant Talk Communications
Elephant Talk Communications, Inc. (OTCBB: ETAK) is an international provider of business software and services to the telecommunications and financial services industry. The company enables both mobile carriers and virtual operators to offer a full suite of products, delivery platforms, support services, superior industry expertise and high quality customer service without substantial upfront investments from clients. Elephant Talk provides global telecommunication companies, mobile network operators, banks, supermarkets, consumer product companies, media firms, and other businesses a full suite of products and services that enables them to fully provide telecom services as part of their business offerings. The company offers various dynamic products that include remote health care, credit card fraud prevention, mobile internet ID security, multi-country discounted phone services, loyalty management services, and a whole range of other emerging customized mobile services. For more information visit www.elephanttalk.com.

About ValidSoft
ValidSoft is a subsidiary of Elephant Talk Communications, Inc. (OTCBB: ETAK), and is a market leader in providing solutions to counter electronic fraud relating to card, the internet, and telephone channels. ValidSoft's solutions are at the cutting edge of the market and are used to verify the authenticity of both consumers and institutions (Mutual Authentication), and the integrity of transactions (Transaction Verification) for the mass market, in a highly cost effective and secure manner, yet easy to use and intuitive. For more information please visit www.validsoft.com.

Forward-Looking Statements
Certain statements contained herein constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements may include, without limitation, statements with respect to the Company's plans and objectives, projections, expectations and intentions. These forward-looking statements are based on current expectations, estimates and projections about the Company's industry, management's beliefs and certain assumptions made by management. Readers are cautioned that any such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions that are difficult to predict. Because such statements involve risks and uncertainties, the actual results and performance of the Company may differ materially from the results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Given these uncertainties, readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements. Unless otherwise required by law, the Company also disclaims any obligation to update its view of any such risks or uncertainties or to announce publicly the result of any revisions to the forward-looking statements made here. Additional information concerning certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from that projected or suggested is contained in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), copies of which are available from the SEC or may be obtained upon request from the Company.

Contact Information

  • Contact:

    ValidSoft
    Claire Hope
    Manager PR & Marketing
    Tel: + 44 020 31708125
    Email Contact

    Investors:

    Alliance Advisors, LLC
    Thomas P. Walsh
    Tel: + 1 212-398-3486
    Email Contact