Current Mobile Scams: How to Identify and Avoid Them
The internet today, is enjoying amazing traffic as its users are increasing on a daily basis, thanks to internet enabled gadgets. A significant portion of this traffic can be traced to mobile phones. This is not surprising as the smartphone technology evolves almost every day to meet the demands and needs of the ever-increasing population of mobile phone users. As a result of this, mobile phone fraudsters are also on the rise masterminding mobile scams, and defrauding unsuspecting members of the public of their hard-earned money.
The use of mobile phones has constituted an integral part of our daily lives and as such, it is important that we are aware of the current phone scams and how to avoid them in order to protect ourselves from any catastrophe that may arise therein. Let’s check out some of the most common and current mobile scams.
When your data or your phone’s unique serial number is illegally obtained from your phone and used to program another phone to be the same as your phone, it simply means that your phone has been cloned. As a result, any calls or data used on the other phone will go to your phone bill.
If at any point you feel your phone has been cloned, contact your network providers for help. Your network providers can help you detect which calls were made by you and which ones were not. To recover any loss that you might have suffered as a result, check with your mobile phone insurance as your insurance policy may cover unauthorized calls.
Text scams are very rampant these days as it is one of the least suspected and most effective ways current phone scams are done. One of the ways they do this is by sending you a text message that looks like it is from a family member or friend, asking you to give them a call. If you respond to such texts or call invite you will be charged a high rate and the charges increase per second.
Another method they use is by impersonating your local bank. They will send you a message informing you about a fraudulent activity on your account and persuade you to call a number to rectify the issue or visit a particular website on which you will be required to fill your bank details and other personal data. Any information you supply either by calling or visiting the website which will be used to access your bank account and personal information.
To avoid falling victim of this, make sure to always verify from your bank before responding to any text message or calling any number that claim to be from your bank. Never be in a haste to solve any issue that has to do with you supplying sensitive information about your bank details.
3. Subscriber Fraud
Every year millions of dollars are lost by mobile phone companies to subscriber fraud. Subscriber fraud is not easily detected, and even when detected it takes more time to prove the debt was not incurred by you.
This kind of fraud occurs when a fraudster gains access to your personal data, and sets up a cellular account with your identity.
If you perceive that you have fallen victim of subscriber fraud take the following steps immediately:
- Contact the law enforcement agency and file a police report.
- Inform your network service providers.
- File a report with any major credit reporting bureau.
- Do a follow up on your reports.
Mobile phone fraudsters can gain access to your personal information through your lost or stolen phone. This information can afford them to make unlimited purchases on your phone and unauthorized calls.
To avoid letting out your information to scammers on a platter of gold, ensure you place a security code on it. Keep your phone at hands-reach so you don’t loose track of it. Some smartphones come with apps that can help you locate or find your stolen phone. Some even have a function that can help wipe your phone’s data remotely peradventure it gets stolen.
If you do not have any of these apps already pre-downloaded on your phone, do well to download them.
Phone Insurance Scams
Under phone insurance scam, the mobile phone fraudsters will pose as insurers associated with the mobile phone company from where you bought your phone. They will offer to sell you insurance for your phone. Obviously, you will never get any insurance. Never reveal your financial information over the phone to anyone.
Recorded Message Scams
If you get a voicemail prompting to call back to redeem a prize you have won, please do well to ignore it because it is most likely to be a scam. If you call back you will be exorbitantly billed.
Just as the name implies, you will get a call from an unknown number which will ring once. Once you call back, you be charged a connection fee and conversion rate at a very high rate. Avoid numbers with these area codes; 473, 876, 268, 809, 284 as these numbers have been associated with scams. Don’t call back any unknown number that only rings you up once because you just might be entering into a trap.
Ransomware is a very malicious software that infects a computer or mobile phone and deny its users access to it until a ransom is paid. The software is spread through phishing emails or drive by downloading (which involves you visiting an infected website which downloads and installs without your knowledge).
How To Avoid Mobile Scams
- Use Authorized Apps: Use only apps from recommended app stores like the Android Play Store, Apple’s App Store. Downloading Apps from stores other than the recommended App store may introduce Ransomware into your mobile phone or gadget.
- Use Pins and Passwords: Always ensure you use pins and passwords on your mobile phone in other to protect them from prying eyes. Install phone-tracking apps as well to help locate and find your phone in-case of theft.
- Beware of Unknown callers: Never be in a haste to return any call or text from unknown numbers especially when it is a prompt to redeem a prize or supply your personal or account details.
- Update System Regularly: Another security measure would be to always checkout for new updates for your phone and computer, as they may offer more security settings that would resolve any familiar vulnerabilities.
- Disposing of Your Phone: Before you dispose of your phone or transfer the ownership of your phone to another user, ensure you do the following;
- Do a factory setting on your device.
- Take out your additional storage card if any.
- Ensure that no pin, password or personal information is left in the system.
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