Fraudsters are constantly coming up with new tricks and ways to deceive us, so attempts to protect mobile devices have already become a part of our digital life. However, some types of scams are not easy to identify. That’s why it is important to keep an eye on new scams and be able to spot them.
In the following guide, we will provide you with several tips to help identify scammers and protect yourself from them in the most efficient way.
Types of mobile phone scams:
Although commercial calls and messages are a legal practice, there are times when this channel is used by scammers, who take advantage of the vulnerability of consumers. Below, we detail the main scams that occur over the phone:
This is a type of scam in which, through a call, a malicious actor impersonates a representative of a legitimate company to obtain personal information. To do this, they use different identity theft tools and pretend to be bank employees, utility company technicians, or telephone operators. The objective is to extract confidential data, such as bank account details or other financial records, from a consumer to later access it.
The scammers create a sense of urgency to make you panic and do what they want. That’s why they require payment or disclosure of your sensitive data right during the call and do not ask to perform some additional actions later (after the end of the call).
2. Double call:
Another fraudulent practice is the so-called double-call scam. For example, scammers pose as your utility company to notify you of an alleged rate increase. Shortly after, a competing company calls you to offer you better conditions. It’s important to know that no company will notify you of increases in their charges over the phone.
3. Ghost calls:
Such calls happen when you pick up the phone, yet there is nobody on the other end of the call and no message is left. Hang up and block the number, because sometimes, just by answering that call, you can put your phone number at risk of being used for malicious purposes.
4. Voice recording:
This is a fraudulent practice in which fraudsters simulate a commercial call to record the consumer’s voice. To do this, they ask the victim a simple question, such as “can you hear me?”, and when you say “yes,” the scammer uses that recorded audio and signs up tricked consumers for chargeable subscription services.
It is not new, but periodically this variant of phishing experiences a rebound. It is the reception of an SMS in which scammers pretend to be someone who instills confidence so that we open a link with which the device is infected with malware or spyware or that moves us to carry out another type of action, a subscription to a premium service or a call to a special rate telephone number, all of this, of course, without us knowing it. When the phone gets infected, the malware either steals the users’ passwords or makes calls and sends SMS without their knowledge.
6. Fake kidnapping:
This scam call consists of a phone call informing us of the kidnapping of a loved one and demanding the payment of a ransom. The scammer tries to make the call as credible as possible, and the victim, in a panic, makes the money transfer, ignoring that the alleged kidnapper may actually be at the bar, playing sports, or doing the shopping.
Never make payments of this type. Hang up, call the alleged hostage, and report the incident to the police. Never provide your personal data or your location.
7. False lottery:
Through SMS or WhatsApp messages, we are informed of a raffle for very attractive prizes. When you open the fake website, you are suggested to play, rest assured that you will be the winner. Then you are asked to include your personal data in a form in order to receive the prize, and the scam is consummated. Always be wary of these bargains.
8. Answering machines:
There are many scams in which the incoming call is made by an answering machine, which asks for the consumer’s consent to manage a prize or an offer. The objective is to obtain your personal data.
9. Missed calls:
Another of the most common phone scams is missed calls with little-known prefixes, usually from foreign countries. The goal is for the person who receives the call to return it, which will mean an extra charge on the phone bill. Sometimes scammers leave a message in your voice mail – this increases the chance that you decide to call back. Be careful when receiving calls or listening to voicemails from unknown numbers.
If you like this article, check out this blog post: Top 5 New Email Scams
How to counter mobile phone scams effectively?
There are several actions that we can carry out to avoid being victims of mobile phone scams. The main ones are:
– Verify identity: At all times try to identify the person making the call. Check that they are not lying, for example, contact the entity through official channels. You can use a reverse phone lookup service, such as PhoneHistory, to find out more about unknown callers.
– Do not provide personal data: No commercial telephone action can require you to provide personal data, whether your identity, your address, your passwords, or your bank details. Never share such details.
– Do not take strange calls: If you receive calls from strange numbers, do not pick up the phone. Try to verify the number that called you later. Again, use a reverse phone lookup to know the owner of the number and their location. Besides, you will be notified about whether it is a spam call or not.
– Block/Mark Spam: Mobile devices already offer the ability to block suspicious calls or mark them as spam. By doing so, you won’t be bothered by them again.
In general, common sense is the best protection against this type of fraud. It is not at all difficult to detect spelling errors in scam messages, wrong logos, similar but incorrect domain addresses, and unknown fonts.
Unfortunately, our phones are becoming the focus of scams and fraudulent practices more and more often. So be aware of the main types of mobile scams and don’t let malicious actors deceive you.