Phishing for Trouble: How to Spot and Avoid Mobile Scams

In this digital age, almost everything can be accessed using the tips of our fingers. Hence, almost everyone of all ages is glued to their cell phones, distracting them from interacting with people. However, while mobile phones help us in many ways, especially convenience, they’re also a hot spot for hackers and scammers.

In 2022, there were around 2.4 million fraud complaints filed with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) with almost $8.8 billion reported losses. Considering this alarming number, it’s very crucial for everyone to be aware of these mobile scams and learn ways to avoid them.

What is Phishing?

Phishing is one type of the many mobile scams that cyber attackers do in an attempt to gain access to your device and get ahold of your personal information, especially financial details. It’s a form of social engineering where hackers call or send you deceptive emails and/or text messages to get you to reveal sensitive information.

But while these may seem simple, hackers have unique ways to get you under their spell. Thus, it’s important to be equipped with the knowledge to identify and prevent them from happening. Let’s first take a look at how you can spot a mobile scam.

Image credit: Tima Miroshnichenko (Source: Pexels)

Identifying Mobile Scams

It’s given that phishing can be in the form of unsolicited text messages, calls, or emails from unknown numbers. But any kind of scam usually plays with your emotions to build your trust. Even if you perform risk assessments, you may still fall for their tricks. Thus, it’s crucial to look out for red flags to avoid being scammed. Below are some:

Requests for Financial Information

No legal company asks for your financial information over the phone, a text message, or an email. Thus, if you receive those kinds of messages asking for your social security number, bank account number, and even account login, block the user immediately.

Unusual Payment Methods

You also have to beware of the payment methods. Usually, scammers often insist on paying with cryptocurrency, a wire transfer service, or a gift card. Some may even send you a check that will later turn out to be fake. So, watch out for those.

Gives Grand Promises

If you’re offered services that are good to be true, like low-risk, high-return investments, that’s a red flag. Investments are all a gamble. You can’t control how the market shifts. More than grand services, don’t believe in messages that say you won a prize for something you didn’t even join. That’s also a scam.

Sends Unrecognizable Links

If they send an unrecognizable link for you to log in to your account, know that it’s a scam. Don’t ever click on those attachments.

Pressures or Threatens You

If not a prize, scammers usually use something like you owe a certain organization money. And they may use real names and pretend it’s them to pressure you. They want you to act before you think. But, if ever they threaten to sue or arrest you, hang up immediately and block the number.

Uses Poor Grammar

You can easily spot a scam by looking out for spelling and grammar errors. So, if you see poorly constructed messages from an unknown number pretending to be a real organization, it’s most likely a scam.

Tips To Avoid Mobile Scams

While there are effective solutions for phishing attacks like Email AI, it’s still crucial that we learn what to do next when we notice the red flags. Below are a few tips:

Never Engage With Unknown Numbers

If ever you receive spam calls and messages, it’s better to just ignore them. Do not ever return one-ring calls from an unknown number because, little do you know that you may already be paying fees you don’t know about. Also, delete spam messages because there are still chances of you opening them at some point and clicking some links that may give hackers access to your accounts.

Never Provide Personal Information Over the Phone

If it happens that the number or email reaching out to you seems convincing, don’t give your sensitive information still. There are no legitimate companies asking for your personal information over the phone.

Block and Report Unsolicited Calls and Messages

It would also be best if you just block the numbers that keep sending you spam messages. You can just use a blocking app as it can help identify and stop unauthorized robocalls and other fraud attempts before they reach your phone. Or if your service provider happens to have a blocking tool, that’s better. Moreover, it’s also best if you report those numbers to the FTC. They’ll be the ones to handle the issue and delete the number if possible.

Only Use Official Apps for Services

For apps, only use those authorized and can be found on Play Store or Apple App Store. Do not ever install sketchy apps, as hackers may only use those to get access to your phone.

Register Your Number on Ftc’s National Do Not Call Registry

Don’t forget to register your phone number with the FTC’s National Do Not Call Registry. Although it won’t stop spam calls, it will make them simpler to identify as the majority of legal telemarketers won’t call you if you’re on the registry.

Always Fact Check

Finally, always do your research on the things you get yourself involved in. Doing so will verify the legitimacy of any claims or information that a scammer may provide. As a result, you can avoid any bad thing that can happen if you engage with scammers.

The Bottom Line

With the number of people getting scammed every day, it’s crucial to learn some ways to spot and avoid scams. By following the tips on this blog, you can protect yourself from financial ruin and have a wonderful mobile experience.

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