We live in a world where smartphones have become an essential part of our everyday lives. Today, we use it for calling and messaging our loved ones, posting on social media, and making payments, among other things. Phones are literally our lifeline in present times, and it’s inconceivable to imagine life without them.
But with our phones, so comes the exposure to many scams, which could happen over the internet or through calls and messages. What makes the scamming process easier is that one can share personal information or send money instantly, without having any suspicion. With a smartphone, most of us don’t rationalize what a scammer says to us.
We find ourselves acting first, only to realize we have been conned. Probably, if it weren’t so easy to send money or give personal details over the phone, we’d think through the actions we’re about to take.
Top 8 Reasons Americans Lose Money to Phone Scammers
Phone scams continue to grow in numbers every day. As we discover their tricks, the scammers invent new ways to con people off information and money. The first step to eluding scams is learning how to notice them.
Whether the scammers change their tricks or not, it’s good to know their modus operandi. The knowledge will at least keep you alert and help you notice a possible rip-off.
Here are 8 reasons why Americans lose billions to phone scams and how to avoid them:
Voice phishing rip-offs are the most common forms of phone scams in America. Nowadays, it’s almost certain that you will encounter some fraudulent calls seeking money or personal information. The fraudsters will pretend to be trusted persons, companies, institutions, or government agencies. Some will even pretend to be victims of an illness or a disaster to appeal for sympathy.
Voice phishing usually happens through unknown numbers, which makes it difficult to instantly establish who is calling you. However, you can overcome this challenge by reverse searching the number on Nuwber, a people search website.
Also, avoid sharing your number with strangers, especially on social media, to wane off phone call fraudsters.
Smishing is also known as SMS phishing or the use of phony text messages to con people into sending money, sharing personal or sensitive information, downloading malware, etc.
Just like in voice phishing, scammers target their victims by pretending to be someone trustworthy. When they gain the victims’ attention, they attempt to trick them into divulging information or sending a certain amount of money.
The best way to evade smishing is by deterring yourself from responding to SMSs from unknown phone numbers. If you are curious about who stands behind this number, reverse search it.
Free Public Wi-Fi
Your phone follows the same rules as other internet-compatible gadgets like laptops. When you connect to that public Wi-Fi, the chances of your phone getting hacked and having someone else steal your personal information are high. The scammers will then use these personal details to steal from you or manipulate you into sending them money.
The best way to protect yourself from this kind of risk would be to download a VPN and put it on anytime you want to use public Wi-Fi. This will ensure the data you send or receive is encrypted. Again, avoid using unsecured networks if possible.
SIM swapping is also known as SIM splitting or simjacking. It’s a fraudulent account takeover by scammers who convince their victims to switch their mobile numbers to different SIMs.
In most cases, the victim will not even realize the information they have provided or actions they have taken have transferred control of their number to the scammer. It’s only after they have been locked out that they realize they have been hacked.
Preventing SIM swapping would require you to make additional security guarantees such as a PIN code and two-factor authentication.
Have you ever thought of using those free USB port changing stations to juice up your phone battery? Well, be careful! Some of these ports could be infected with malware, exposing your details to crooks. If fraudsters get hold of your information, you will face identity theft. Con artists, in turn, will try to scam people for money on your behalf.
One of the topmost ways to avoid juice jacking would be installing anti-virus software. It will help detect any malware and block it before it gets installed on your phone. However, playing safe by avoiding the shared adapters and USB ports is the best option.
Bluetooth Phone Scams
Though Bluetooth technology has improved exponentially, the risks posed by Bluetooth fraudsters remain a major concern. Some of the most common ways involving Bluetooth phone scams include:
Bluesnarfing: The hack allows scammers to access your email and other personal details.
Bluebugging: The technique is used by crooks to take complete control of your phone.
Bluejacking: The trick here is to send you a SPAM text, which could lead to personal data leakage.
Many people have lost money for leaving Bluetooth on and pairing their devices with strangers. The way to minimize the risk is by putting the Bluetooth off when in public or not in use.
Most Americans are compassionate to other people’s challenges, which is the reason they lose money to scammers. Fraudsters know this and fake charity appeals to rip off the public.
Individually, you should do due diligence before sending money to any charity.
Scammers have increasingly been calling and sending messages to Americans with a promise of a good return. Those people who hope to improve their financial status have fallen into the hands of scammers who take their money and go silent.
The safest way to avoid such scams is by verifying the authenticity of the person who reached out to you.
Phone scams are some of the most applied techniques by fraudsters to steal money from hard-working Americans. Some of the main methods used by crooks include voice and SMS phishing, SIM swapping, juice jacking, Bluetooth scams, and malware in public Wi-Fi.
Fraudsters play on people’s empathy, trust, and need to improve their financial position. As such, caution is critical to minimize the potential loss of money and personal details.
Last Updated 3 months ago