Most Common Phone Scams
According to Charles D. Morgan, the CEO and Head Data Scientist of First Orion, phone scams are on a rapid rise year after year. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which is a U.S. government agency, has joined hands with various technology companies, including First Orion, to find solutions to mitigate these scams. So mobile scams are cause for concern, and though we cannot eradicate the problem, we can mitigate it, by being aware.
Text Scams – These scams cover an array of creative ways scammers have found to take advantage of unsuspecting individuals. For example, you could receive a legitimate-looking message, which you think has been sent by your bank. The message might scare you into divulging personal account details by saying, for instance, that there has been unauthorized usage on your account.
Uploading personal information on a fraudulent website or texting it to a fraudulent mobile, will most likely give the criminal access to your bank account. Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK) says that fraudsters employ special software that changes the sender ID on a message. This enables them to cheat innocent customers who think that the message is legitimately from their bank. To avoid falling prey to this type of scam, call your bank directly for any clarifications.
Phone Cloning Scams – Phones can be cloned with another person’s cell phone number and serial number. Once cloned, all calls, messages, and data used on that fake number will be charged to the owner of the original number. Certain providers can differentiate between calls made from the original number and a fake number. In India, from 2009 to 2012 there were 1,300 cases of cloning.
One Ring Scams – Fraudster might give you a missed call hoping you will call back that number. If you do, you will be charged a US $19.95 fee plus further exorbitant fees if you stay connected. The Caribbean is usually where these scams originate. If you don’t recognize a number of a missed call, don’t call back. Report the number to your service provider.
Recorded Messages – The fraudster sends the victim a voicemail about a prize she or he has won and asked the person to call back. On calling back, the victim is charged outrageous fees.
Ransomware – Your phone is held to ransom until you make a payment. This most likely will happen on unsecured sites. Malicious software will freeze your phone and block any access to it. A legitimate looking message pops up saying that you have broken a certain law and you are liable to pay a fine. To avoid becoming prey to this type of scam, stay away from non-branded phone apps. Also, exercise extra caution when using public Wi-Fi as these have minimal security.
Phone Insurance Scam – New phone buyers typically fall victim to this type of scam. After buying a phone, the owner gets a call from someone claiming to cell phone insurance. Never give out any personal information to anyone unless you have confirmed whom it is you’re speaking to.
Subscriber Fraud – Cell phone providers rack up over $131 million every year in subscriber fraud. Fraudsters pretend to be you by getting access to your data and creating a cell phone account in your name. Besides having to deal with large bills, proving you are the victim is an arduous task. Take appropriate steps to ensure your data is always secure.
Stolen Phones – Phones get lost and stolen all the time. In 2015, reported phone theft in the U.K. was at 442,000. Bank account details, logins, and passwords or any other sensitive data on the phone is at risk of being misused. Most smartphones come with password protection. If not already installed on your phone, download an app. Apps are also available to help you track your lost device and also to help you remotely wipe off data from your phone when it is online.
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