Different Mobile Scams and How to Protect Yourself from Them
Brent PetersonFebruary 17, 2020
People are shifting their tech usage from computers to mobile phones, as phones make it simpler to manage everything and are easier to carry around. This year, for example, the number of mobile phone users will rise from 4.6 to 4.7 billion!
As human behavior transitions to the use of this device, so do hackers and scammers who want to steal more information.
People don’t realize that their mobile devices are at just as much of a threat as their computers, so most don’t take the time to secure them.
Here we have listed the common mobile phone scams and how you can protect yourself from them.
When someone has gained access to your personal information like your complete name and bank accounts, they can do anything with them. One way scammers can use your data is by opening a mobile phone account using your information.
Victims of this scam don’t notice anything until they have a huge bill to pay. Not to mention, solving issues like this isn’t exactly easy.
If you’ve realized that you are a victim of this crime, immediately contact your mobile phone provider.
SOCIAL MEDIA SCAM OR SPAM
The number of mobile phone users has increased as social media has become a daily outlet for most people. In fact, there are approximately 1 billion social media users currently.
With that being said, there is no doubt that cybercriminals use social media as one of their platforms to manipulate people.
In many cases, scammers and hackers create fake accounts to go after some of their victims.
They use these accounts to send messages or post comments containing links that are harmful once clicked because they can capture your personal information.
Here are some common social media scams:
- Quizzes or games requiring confidential data
- Requests to install an app or file on your phone
- Requests to click on links
TEXT SCAMS OR SMISHING OR SMS PHISHING
Text scams are similar to email scams. You receive a message requiring you to call a number or click on a link. This message usually comes from an unknown number.
There are many forms of text scams. Some examples include the following:
- Text message informing you that your bank account has been hacked or suspicious activity has been seen.
- Offers for free items such as ringtones or money
When you click on the link, it will either redirect you to a website that will gather your personal data, or it will install malware on your device.
Therefore, if you don’t want to become a victim of this scam, you have to be skeptical. Often times, you can spot certain errors in the text message you received such as:
- The lack of salutations like Ma’am or Sir
- Errors in grammar or spelling
- Suspicious number
- The number has never contacted you before
- Prompting you to act immediately via a link given or phone number
When you notice these signs, be aware that this is or might be a scam.
How to avoid SMS phishing:
- Avoid clicking on links sent through SMS. If you want to be sure, you can search the phone number online to see if there are reports about it if it is a scam.
- Any text messages with an incomplete mobile phone number is an email to text service.
- Don’t call the number given on the text message. You could automatically incur charges when calling the number.
- Always be suspicious of any text message from phone numbers that you don’t know.
- If the message is about your bank, contact your bank by not using the link or phone number provided in the text message. Always remember to contact your account’s company by looking for their phone number on their website.
- Don’t believe in any free offers given to you.
VOICE OR CALL PHISHING
This method is similar to text scams, but scammers use a direct call to get information from their victims. Scammers will pretend to be an agent from a bank or insurance company. They will ask their victims for confidential information like their PIN code.
They will inform the victim that their card has been compromised and that a replacement is on its way to the victim’s house. But, the replacement is not real.
If you have received a call from an unknown number that asks you for your personal details, you have to be suspicious.
Here are signs that a hacker is behind a call:
- Unknown number
- Asking for details like PIN code, which banks do not do when solving an issue on your account.
- They are prompting you to act immediately to solve the problem.
If you experience these, know that it is a scam. Better yet, don’t pick up any call that comes from an unknown number.
Scammers will ring a number once and hang up. It will tempt the victim to call the number. Once the victim calls the number, they will be charged a premium amount.
To avoid this, don’t call any suspicious number that rings and hangs up.
Ransomware scam is similar to ransomware attacks on computers. The scammer will hold your mobile phone or freeze it and ask a certain amount from you.
How to be safe from ransomware:
- Avoid downloading apps or files on an unsecured or suspicious website.
- Don’t access your accounts when using public WI-FI. Anyone has access to this portal, making it easy for hackers to steal data.
When a lost phone falls into the wrong hands, they can do anything with it. They can steal the information on the phone or gain access to online accounts.
How to secure your phone:
- Make sure to keep your mobile phone in one place for you to remember it.
- Secure your mobile device with a strong password.
- Install an app that could track your phone or can remotely wipe out all the data in it.
For most people, the difference between a fake app from a legitimate app is difficult to distinguish. That’s why people end up downloading an app, not knowing that it’s a trap. The fake app contains malware that could monitor all your mobile activities, even your login credentials.
Before you download an app, make sure to see if the app is from a reputable source.
Here are some tips to distinguish a fake app:
- There are only a few reviews about the app. Also, you can read reviews of previous victims about the app.
- The images, description, and other details are incomplete, has poor quality, and looks unprofessional. Scammers work fast to create these apps, that’s why they are constructed poorly.
How to avoid downloading fake apps:
- Check the developer of the app. Look for websites or social media accounts if they do exist
- Follow the recommendations above
- Only download apps from legitimate sources
- Install a mobile security app or software on your phone.
Besides following tips on how to protect your mobile phone from these scams, you should always remember to install a mobile security app, to be precautious, to update apps, and to avoid disposing of any confidential information through email, text, or call.
Mobile scams and malware are not as prominent as the ones seen on computers, but they are slowly rising in number. People are starting to become victims due to a lack of attention given to mobile device security.
If you want to be safe, always remember to secure all your accounts and devices, even your smartphone.
John Ocampos has a strong forte in digital marketing. He is Founder of SEO-Guru and Managing Director of Tech Hacker. John is also the Strategic SEO and Influencer Marketing Manager of Softvire Australia—the leading software eCommerce company in Australia—and Softvire New Zealand
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