Phone scams happens when a fraudster calls an unsuspecting victim on phone and impersonates a government agency, bank, business partner, or family member in order to defraud the unsuspecting victim or use his identity for fraudulent activities.
It may come in form of a business proposal, complaint from a bank regarding suspicious transactions, distress calls, charity appeals, loan, winning notifications from lottery organisations, technical support, etc.
The most common type of phone scam is phone spoofing. Phone spoofing is when a fraudster makes another person’s phone number appear on the receiver’s caller ID with the intention of impersonating that individual.
In today’s digital age, fraudsters often use the mobile phone as a tool to obtain personal or sensitive information from unsuspecting victims. it is now very easy for anyone to call you and pretend to be your friend or family member in order to defraud you. Millions of people fall victim to phone scams each year. As long as you are a mobile phone user you are at risk.
In order to avoid or reduce the dangers of phone scams, the golden rule is that you should never trust all calls. The fact that a caller knows you doesn’t mean you know him and don’t assume a phone call is legitimate just because the caller knows your name, date of birth, address, place of work, or other personal information.
How to identify a phone scams:
1. Caller requests for sensitive or personal information e.g. name, address, date of birth, credit card details, etc
2. In most cases, the calls are from strangers who claim to be from a trusted individual or organization.
3. Request for urgent action to be taken or face negative consequences.
4. The story sounds too good to be true.
5. Request for advance payment.
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In order to prevent yourself, company, family and loved ones from falling victim to phone scams, here are some useful tips:
1. Don’t give out personal or sensitive information to anyone over the phone, even if the call seems authentic.
2. Be suspicious when you receive calls repeatedly from unknown numbers.
3. Don’t respond to strange calls immediately. Investigate thoroughly before you respond.
4. Don’t give your phone to people you don’t trust.
5. Beware of “One- ring phone scam”. Don’t call back when you miss a call from an incomplete phone number e.g. 3-digit number that looks like international calling code.
6. Don’t react too quickly to a distress call without proper investigation.
7. When you are suspicious of any scam call, report to your phone company or law enforcement agents immediately.
8. Be suspicious when you see calls with “private number”.
9. When you are not sure if a call is from an individual or organisation you know, call the supposed individual or organisation with a different line.
10. When the story of the caller sounds too good to be true, be suspicious and share the story with other people.
11. When you are suspicious of any telephone number that calls you repeatedly, block the telephone number.
12. Don’t click on strange links or download attachment or app that you don’t trust.
13. Be careful what you share on social media.
14. Set up two- factor authentication to strengthen the security of your mobile phone and online accounts.
15. Educate yourself about how to identify and avoid common phone scams.