Protect yourself from phone scams with these 5 strategies

Mobiles are some of our most valuable possessions, and cybercriminals are well aware of this. We constantly have them with us, and we use them to access some of our most personal information. We’ve linked our phones to our banking accounts, emails, and other sensitive data sources, making them a great concentrated target for identity theft and fraud.

Scammers use mobile phones to trick you into inadvertently infecting your device with malware or disclosing personal information. The following are examples of common mobile scams:

  • Scams with mobile phone viruses
  • Phishing through SMS 
  • Scams involving voice mail 

Five helpful tips to get yourself protected from phone scams 

  • Make sure to use VPN (Virtual Private Network)

VPN encryption safeguards your data from being spied on while it is in transit. These services also anonymize your data, making it impossible to trace it back to you via an IP address or other means. Consider paid VPN Secure Connection if you want to protect your internet surfing when you’re on the go or at home.

  • Make sure to create a strong Password/Pin 

Never, ever reuse your passwords. It is advisable to use a random string of characters for each password. Make sure you use a variety of case and character kinds, such as symbols, numerals, uppercase, and lowercase. Replace some of the letters in a passphrase that consists of a few short, memorable phrases with symbols or numeric characters.

When feasible, use a 6-digit PIN instead of a 4-digit PIN for your lock screen. 6-digit PINs have more potential possibilities, making brute force hacking into your phone or accounts more difficult. Never use dates or other personal information because hackers will generally try everything publicly available about you online before guessing at random. Also, avoid using simple number combinations such as “0000” or “1234”.

  • Save your Password, Pins, Personal Information, and account details in a vault.

Use tools or vault applications to remember all of your personalized passwords and PINs. Keeping a password notepad or saving them in your phone notes is extremely risky and should never be done. Password managers encrypt your data, making it unreadable to hackers. To get access to the vault, you just need to remember one master password. Make this one of your toughest and most complex passwords to prevent unscrupulous fraudsters from gaining access.

  • Do not provide personal information and contact details.

Don’t ever give up your phone number to anyone who doesn’t need to reach you right away, especially if they’re planning to enter it into a database. Instead, opt for email notifications from merchants, pharmacies, and other businesses, especially if you receive your email on your cell phone. Consider acquiring a free phone number to link to your phone, such as a Google Voice, for those instances when you need to offer a business a phone number. You may configure it so that callers must declare their names before you decide whether to answer or transfer the call to voicemail. When you use this number to make phone calls, companies are prevented from automatically obtaining your real mobile number when you dial a toll-free number.

In case you’re curious or worrying about neglecting an important call, use Nuwber or just Google the number. Doing so will provide some info about the caller and you will be more confident in your decision to pick up the phone or not. 

  •  Use Robocall filters

Everyone provides a chance to catch anything that slipped through the previous filter. Calls that have been reported might be routed directly to your voicemail. Begin by inquiring with your phone carrier about free robocall filters. The FTC suggests contacting the CTIA, the wireless industry’s trade group, for further information on call blocking. If someone calls and claims to be from a company with whom you do business, and you believe the call is authentic, hang up and call them back at a phone number you look up on your own. And, no matter who they claim to be, never confirm or offer personal information to a caller you did not expect.

What should a scammed victim do?

The initial phone call should be to your mobile phone network provider. Inform them that you have been the victim of a mobile phone scam and that you would like to take the following measures to avoid further issues. 

Make sure that your next move is to contact official authorities. You should also report the occurrence to the fraud center in your country of residence:

  • The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center is based in the United States.
  • Canada has a Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
  • ACCC Scamwatch in Australia
  • The United Kingdom’s National Fraud & Crime Reporting Centre.

If you believe you’ve been duped and have handed up your bank account information or remote access to your computer, the first thing you should do is contact your bank. The bank can halt any further withdrawals from your account and perhaps assist you in recouping your losses.

How to report a scam?

In the optimistic outcome, you detect the fraud before it is too late. When any scam occurs, contact the necessary authorities to inform them about where you encountered the scammers. As a result of this, they will be banned from the site, ensuring that no one else gets scammed.

Depending on the specifics of the scam, reporting it to your local police station may be helpful. 

Conclusion

Many scams need victims to interact with a legitimate-looking website for the fraudsters to obtain the information they seek.

Knowledge and alertness are the strongest defenses against scammers. Help others by sharing this information on social media or emailing it to them so they know how to avoid phone scammers. You can reduce the chance of getting scammed on a smartphone by following some necessary precautions to keep you and your family members safe and secure.

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