Ever been betrayed in life? If not, firstly, you’re the luckiest person alive. Secondly, you probably haven’t been scammed yet. Because mobile phone scams literally feel like a hardcore betrayal.
One might not feel that bad about losing something valuable to a scammer. It’s as bad as they would feel about being manipulated into giving scammers what they wanted.
One also might not be able to register the betrayal as soon as it happens. It seeps in slowly and starts a vicious cycle of realisation, frustration and helplessness.
The only solace a victim can find is understanding their limited control over the scam and moving on with life, possibly after yelling, crying, and screaming a thousand cusses in the air directed at the scammer.
Trusting in karma for delivering your revenge on the awful person works wonders. But wouldn’t you still prefer to be prepared and ready before someone tries to scam you? Wouldn’t you like to be informed about how one might be trying to betray you so you don’t fall for it?
Well, you’ve come to the right place. We have compiled for you as much knowledge as required by a non-technical person to be informed about the various, ingenious ways that scammers may try to adopt while administering mobile phone scams.
What is a Mobile Phone Scam?
Scammers are people that master social engineering techniques to use them against other, less informed people. But that’s not all! As technological advancements are being invented and implemented worldwide, newer ways are being employed by scam artists.
Technology is seeping into every aspect of human life, providing all kinds of convenience to us, for example, mobile phones. This is most definitely an impressive feat achieved by humanity, but it comes with dire consequences.
Where mobile phones provide convenient services, the apps installed in them ask for your permissions to access your data so you can utilise that convenience. This is where you are left most vulnerable to mobile phone scams.
While constantly inventing new innovative ways to scam people, scammers have started using loopholes within cyber security in amalgamation to social engineering, which allows them extensive freedom to abuse technological convenience and carries out mobile phone scams.
Types of Scams
Various types of scams have now become the practice of these scammers. It is beneficial to be aware of them to predict malicious activity without becoming a victim to it.
From your bank
One of the ways you can be scammed is through a phishing email sent to you by a scammer pretending to be a bank representative who tricks you into verifying your bank account or debit card number.
Additionally, you may receive scam calls from mobile numbers that may seem authentic but are actually scammers pretending to be from your bank. They may ask you for your personal information, like your social security number, bank account information etc.
Scammers impersonate trusted banks and manipulate you into giving them information about yourself which they may use to commit identity fraud or other monetary scams once they gain access to your email, bank, or other accounts.
Furthermore, a scammer may employ mobile deposit capture scams that involve sending you a scanned check that seems natural but is counterfeit. They then tell you to deposit it in your bank account and wire part of the money back to them.
Since it takes more time for the bank to verify a check and less time to deposit money in your account, the counterfeit check might be cleared initially but will raise a red flag after a few weeks. You will have to pay the bank the deposited amount in addition to the wired money you transferred to the scam artist.
Among the latest mobile phone scams, delivery texts have become quite common during COVID-19. Victims receive a text on their phones from a trusted delivery service like DHL, Royal Mail, DPD, etc.
The text informs the victim that a parcel in their name is waiting to be dispatched and that the victim needs to pay a minimal surcharge fee to receive it. The text further links which personal information about the bank account is to be entered to pay the fee.
The victims do not know that the information they enter is simply collected by the scam artists and is used to either place purchases in the victim’s name or develop a more elaborate con where the scammer can empty the whole bank account.
FluBot malware text has also been on the rise in many countries. Victims receive a text stating they missed a call or have a new voicemail, providing a fake link to listen. Once the link is opened, malware is installed on their phones.
If this malware is given permissions in the phone, it gives complete access to the scam artist of the receiver’s phone. This allows scammers to use personal information stored in the phone to conduct future scams or frauds.
Phone Call Scams
Apart from sending phishing mail or vishing texts that pretend to be legitimate, mobile scam calls are famous for scamming innocent people.
You may receive a phone call or a robocall informing you about any offers, products, insurances or that you may be a part of an ongoing investigation and could be arrested if you do not comply.
In any of these scenarios, you need to be aware that a company is only legally allowed to contact you through robocalls if you have given written permission to them. Otherwise, this is illegal, and the companies trying to contact you still should not be entertained.
Furthermore, these automated call recordings may require you to press a button to be redirected to a representative who would provide you with the said information. Still, in reality, this results in you losing hefty sums of money on premium call rates and/or other scams.
All in all, scammers can try to adopt any means necessary to reach out to you in ways you might not expect, but calls that ask for your information or payment should never be entertained.
How to spot Mobile Phone Scam?
Despite being the pinnacle of cunning, scam artists can not entirely replicate the authenticity of a legitimate organisation. The only power they have is social engineering techniques and words that might make you trust them or completely miss out on the scam.
There are some indicators always present in scams that can give away their authenticity. All it requires is some mental focus and effort and will to not conform to an unknown scammer.
If you are not expecting any messages from any organisation and still get one, that is straight-up a scammer trying to manipulate you. If you receive messages from courier companies or banks, or the police, do not reply to the messages if you were not expecting them.
Instead, call the organisation and ask them for assurance regarding the message sent. They will always clear out your doubts authentically.
Most of the time, scammers might leave down typos in their texts or emails. It could either be due to the artist’s carelessness, limited scrutiny, or probably copyright issues.
Scammers might have paid less attention to proofreading their messages or are not well-equipped with grammatical principles that might result in typos in their scam emails or texts.
Always be sure to reflect on what you’re seeing, and ask yourself if the organisation would write and send something like this or not. Legitimate organisations pay utmost importance in creating content free of errors and never make mistakes in their communications with their clients.
Hence, typos are a big give-away.
If you receive texts or emails that have click links embedded in them, always be sure to call the organisation in consideration and confirm the communication you have received from them.
Since click links will redirect you to unsafe web pages or introduce malware and viruses in your phone. Stay away from them unless verified by the organisations.
Sharing Personal Info
Authentic organisations never ask you for your personal information by text or phone. They have proper channels and processes that promise utmost confidentiality in getting yourself registered with the organisation.
Do not submit to their request if you receive any text, email, or call asking you for your personal information. Always confirm with the organisation afterwards by calling them on their official numbers.
Replying to a text
Never reply to text messages you may have identified as sent from scam mobile numbers. Simply responding to them can let the scammer know that your number is active and in use. This opens you to mobile scam calls or texts in future and increases your risk of being scammed.
Reporting a Scam
Whenever you’re successfully able to identify mobile phone scams, be sure to inform the organisation about them to take preventive measures against them in the future. Furthermore, report it to the concerned agencies that deal with cyber frauds and scams.
How to protect yourself from scams?
- If you’re concerned about being a victim of a scam, you can adopt the following methods to protect yourself from scams:
- Service providers tend to have their own security policies to help protect user’s data. Be sure to acquaint yourself with the procedures so you can be signed up for them.
- Set up a passcode on your phone to keep it locked when you’re not using it. Read more about digital data privacy in this latest guide.
- Never store personal information like passwords or PINs in texts or emails that your phone can easily access.
- Never allow applications to be installed from unknown sources on your phone. Use authentic stores like Google Play Store and Apple store etc.
- Always check to see if a website you’re visiting has a suspicious URL or not. If it does, close it down straight away.
- Don’t entertain any unknown numbers.
- Make sure to enable remote locking and tracking in your phone in case it gets lost or stolen.
- Be extra vigilant around anything you’re sharing online. Always call or verify some other way before giving any information.
- Do not hesitate to ask direct questions that concern your privacy or security from the caller.
- Scammers may create a sense of urgency. They won’t let you take time to think if it seems right or not. Hence, always take your time to think things through. Legitimate organisations give you ample time for deciding things.
In conclusion, scammers are constantly adapting new ways to exploit users with modern technology. This requires us to be most vigilant in managing and sharing our information online or with others.
The present age is the age of information, and we need to take extra care against these scams and frauds. However, despite their best efforts, scam artists still fail to create total authenticity in their scams. Hence, they can be identified easily, as long as you stay alert and aware of scammers’ different methods.