Voice Over Internet Protocol

Cheaply available voice over Internet Protocol numbers and Net calling are helping crooks launch new data-thieving scams, a security company has warned.

In a twist on phishing, fraudsters are now calling their intended victims instead of e-mailing them.  The caller hears an automated message that warns of a problem with a bank account, Secure Computing, a maker of security appliances, said in a statement on Monday.

The message includes instructions to call a phone number to resolve the issues.  That number connects the caller to a voice response system asking the consumer to enter their 16-digit credit card number, Secure Computing said.

The fraudsters likely use stolen identities to set up a voice-response system and acquire local VoIP phone numbers, according to Secure Computing, which dubbed the new way of scamming "vishing."

Phishers have already been sending out e-mails that attempt to trick people into sharing personal information over the phone, instead of via a Web site, the traditional scam.

Cybercrooks are also using cell phones as a way to bait victims.  In the U.K. and Iceland, SMS (short message service) text messages were used to lure people to a malicious Web site that installed a backdoor, according to F-Secure, a Finnish antivirus company.