Smartphones have changed the way we communicate. Smartphone chatting applications and SMS have become the preferred mode of communication. It’s easy to find people in bus stations, airports, and even coffee houses chatting more than talking over the phone. The extensive use of phones has created an ecosystem that scammers can exploit.
A phone scam is known as ‘smishing’; this is a merging of words from ‘SMS’ and email spam ‘phishing.’ Smishing scams involve a trick where people are compelled to provide their identification details. The scammers act like accredited institutions like the IRS or your bank. When someone asks you to submit your PIN and password, be on the alert, you might be dealing with a scam. Most scammers provide prizes for such details like trips and gift cards.
Scammers tend to target people in the old fashioned way. Baby boomers often fall prey to phone scammers. Ideally, a fraudster will work through texts using scam phone numbers because it’s the best way to hide their identity. Scammers also increase the sense of urgency by inflicting fear and threatening their victims.
A fraudster often sends a threatening text, purporting to take action because of an alleged fraudulent activity that has happened on your bank account. Once you are scared, it is easy to comply and provide the private details to the scammer, and before you know it, your account’s balance will reduce to zero. Now, since a scammer uses scam phone numbers, they will disappear without a trace.
An Important Trick to Use to Out-Smart a Phone Scammer
Anytime you’re asked to provide your private account details over the phone, avoid fulfilling the request. This technique is the easiest and most straightforward way to prevent the majority of the phone scams. You will never receive a text from the IRS or a bank requesting you to share your bank details.
Banks tend to send automated messages without any request to share any information. When it comes to calls, avoid sharing any details with people who have strange accents. When you hear someone with a peculiar accent like the Nigerian accent, be suspicious. This kind of scammer will claim to be from your credit card company or the police.
Scammers are good at faking telephone numbers. If you receive a fishy call, ignore it. Always follow up with the source of the call to check if the caller was from the alleged party. For instance, if the bank asks you to provide your bank access details, identify the bank and branch where they state to be working. Let them know you will call back and confirm with your bank about the call.
How to Identify Phone Scams
To identify an individual who is calling you, perform a reverse phone lookup. This process works by placing the unknown number in a search engine and running it. It’s possible to get the name, address, age, and so much more. If the person you’ve identified is a stranger, you can conduct further research on the individual. Once you have the full report, hand it over to the authorities to warn others about the scammer. The chances are that there are others who have fallen victim to the same scammer.
In case you do not find any details about the caller, check the details of the phone number. If the caller texted or called, saying that they are from your credit card company, hang up first, then check the phone number against the phone number of your credit card company. You can do this by going to the credit card company’s website and checking with the correct contact details. If it is not a match, then you are dealing with a scammer.
Alternatively, you can hang up and call the same number immediately. If it is a scammer, the chances are that the call will not go through. Now, if you get several unwanted calls or texts, do not freak out. Since you know scammers will try every way to make money, download a reverse phone lookup app. These apps can help you identify and block any scammer.
What is Caller ID Spoofing?
Phone scammers are intelligent; they use caller ID spoofing to falsify their information that you see on your caller ID. This type of spoofing is a smart way to disguise who they are. Additionally, scammers also use neighbor spoofing. This technique is used to increase your chances of picking up the call because the phone number on display is similar to yours. If you receive a call from a number that is similar to your caller ID, know that your phone number is spoofed.
Since scammers are skilled at making you gain their trust, do not engage with them over the phone for long. Stand your ground and consider the tips we have provided.