Scammers have become more skilled in their attempts to trick and defraud people. They frequently use the telephone to steal personal information or money, posing as reputable businesses or individuals.
It can be unsettling and potentially dangerous when a scammer calls you. However, you can safeguard your privacy and yourself with the right safety measures. In this article, we’ll go over the steps to take in the event of a phone scam, from spotting the red flags to acting quickly to protect your money and personal security.
Scammers can obtain access to your mobile number through various means, some of which include:
- Data breaches: Hackers can infiltrate databases of companies or organizations that store customer information, including mobile numbers. When such data breaches occur, your mobile number and other personal details may be exposed to cybercriminals.
- Social engineering: Through various manipulation techniques, scammers may persuade individuals or employees of organizations to reveal their mobile numbers. For instance, they might willingly persuade you to give them your mobile number by assuming the identity of someone trustworthy, such as a coworker, relative, or customer service agent.
- Online forms and surveys: Be cautious when filling out online forms or surveys, especially if they are from outside reputable sources. Some fraudulent websites and apps collect mobile numbers under the pretense of offering prizes, discounts, or other incentives, but their true intention is to harvest personal information for malicious purposes.
- Malware and phishing attacks: Malicious software or phishing emails can compromise your device’s security. Scammers may use malware to access contact lists and extract mobile numbers. Phishing emails may trick you into clicking links or downloading attachments that can compromise your phone’s security.
- Data brokers: Some companies, known as data brokers, collect and sell personal information, including mobile numbers. This information is often gathered from publicly available sources, such as online directories, social media profiles, and public records.
When con artists have your phone number, taking immediate action is crucial to protect your personal information and financial security. Here’s a comprehensive explanation of the steps you should take:
- Contact your mobile carrier: As soon as someone suspicious calls you, contact your mobile carrier. They can help you secure your number and provide guidance on the next steps.
- Lock your SIM card: Request that your mobile carrier lock your SIM card to prevent scammers from using your number to make calls or access your accounts. A locked SIM card requires a unique Personal Identification Number (PIN) to unlock, adding an extra layer of security.
- Ignore one-ring phone scams: Con artists often use one-ring phone scams to trick people into calling back premium-rate numbers, incurring hefty charges. If you receive a call from an unfamiliar or international number that rings only once, resist the urge to call back.
- Find out who the number belongs to: We live in the 21st century, and knowing who stands behind a certain phone number isn’t difficult anymore. One of the easiest ways is to google it. If this method hasn’t brought any results, consider using others. A reverse phone lookup on Nuwber is an effective way to know who’s the owner of a number. Nuwber will also grant you this person’s details, such as their address, relatives, professional information, and much more.
- Secure your online accounts with strong passwords and 2FA: Strengthen the security of your online accounts, especially those linked to your phone number. Use strong, unique passwords for each account, and enable two-factor authentication (2FA). It makes it much harder for scammers to gain unauthorized access to your phone.
- Block scam calls: When you receive scam calls, block the numbers to prevent future calls from those sources. Consider using third-party call-blocking apps to identify and filter out potential scam calls. You can also register your mobile phone in the National Do Not Call Registry to prevent telemarketing calls.
- Remove your phone number from data broker lists: Data brokers collect and sell personal information, including phone numbers. To reduce the chances of your number falling into the wrong hands, search for reputable data broker opt-out services online and follow their instructions to remove your details from their databases.
- Consider signing up for a digital security service: Various digital security services and identity theft protection services are available to monitor your personal information and alert you to any suspicious activities. Some of these services can also help you recover from identity theft if it occurs.
Avoiding hacking attempts is crucial in today’s digital age. If someone has your phone number, they can take certain steps to hack your accounts that are connected to your mobile phone.
Here are essential tips for you:
Use strong, unique passwords:
- Create complex passwords that combine upper and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters.
- Avoid using easily guessable information like birthdays or common words.
- Use different passwords for each online account to avoid them being hacked.
Enable two-factor authentication (2FA):
- Turn on 2FA on your accounts. It requires you to provide a second verification step, such as a code sent to your mobile device and your password.
Regularly update your software and devices:
- Keep your operating system, applications, and antivirus software up-to-date. Updates often include security patches to fix vulnerabilities that hackers may exploit.
Don’t use public Wi-Fi networks:
- Public Wi-Fi networks are too dangerous these days. It’s especially important to avoid them when making financial transactions, as hackers can easily gain access to your phone, which can lead to serious consequences.
Phone scams can easily lead to fraud and harassment. Taking swift and proactive steps to secure your phone number and personal information is essential. Contacting your mobile carrier, locking your SIM card, ignoring one-ring phone scams, strengthening online account security, blocking scam calls, opting out of data broker lists, and considering digital security services are some of the critical measures to safeguard yourself against phone scammers and protect your privacy and financial well-being.