Almost everybody has a mobile phone these day. Of course, the scammers see this as prime real estate for executing their dastardly deeds. It is no wonder the incidence of phone scams are on the increase.
According to Money Tips: “2015, approximately 27 million Americans (11% of the adult population) were victimized by phone fraud, compared to only 7% in a similar 2014 survey. Total 2015 losses to phone scams was $7.4 billion, or an average loss of nearly $274 per victim. Scams are trending in three alliterative aspects: mobile devices, men, and millennials”.
Telephone scams are the hottest thing the fraudsters and manipulators are taking advantage of. By now, everyone has heard of the Nigerian Prince scam that circulates the internet via email. At least I hope everyone knows about this….
Scammers have come up with many clever ways to part us from our money. They combine their technical skills with what has to be an adept observance of human behaviour. This combination, unfortunately, is an efficient weapon for the scammers arsenal. As much as I detest scammers, you have to hand it to them, they are quite ingenious.
Each time a scam is revealed, the fraudsters come up with a new ways to get you to give them your money.
The Phone Scams.
Can You Hear Me?
I choose this ruse first because it seems like the one that would be easiest to get caught on, even if you are diligent about your phone and computer use.
This one is not showing any signs of slowing down.
Here’s how it works:
Someone impersonating a representative from an organization that the consumer uses, and is most likely familiar with, contacts them. This might be a utility company, a mortgage lender, or a credit card company, for example.
At some point in the conversation they will ask: “Can you hear me?” The caller records the victim saying “yes” which they can now use as a voice signature. This voice signature can be used to authorize fraudulent charges via telephone.
Authorities advise consumers to hang up immediately if they are asked that question, at any point of the conversation.
The criminal counts on people either not knowing about this scam, and or the inherent need for people to be polite and not offend. Thus, they answer “yes” and the victimization continues.
This one scares me, because even if you are aware of the scam, it can be easy to slip, and answer before you have had time to think it through.
Caller ID Scam
Sometimes it is your smartphone that has been fooled.
Scammers have figured out ways to mask a phone number. You get a call from the local police. They say they are investigating a crime and need to verify your contact information. You have your doubts, so you do a reverse look up of the telephone number on google, and sure enough, it IS the police. You go ahead and give out your information. Later you find out it was a fake number, and they have your information.
This one works because most people do not want to deal with any intimidating service agencies.
Ever wonder how these words become a part of our lexicon? Yet another action that required the creation of a new name.
Smishing is short for SMS phishing. This a texting scam. It looks so legitimate, it’s no wonder that people fall for it.
A phoney number is hidden behind what appears to be the number of a trusted source, typically a bank.
The text will inform you that “Your debit card has been used to make a purchase, and if you do not recognize the transaction, you need to call the fraud prevention hotline”, with the number provided. If you call this number, the scammer is ready to gather your sensitive banking information, and asks you to confirm it. The scammer can now access your account with ease.
In this one, people receive calls from criminals claiming to be from Apple Support. The automated voice tells the victim that their iCloud account has been hacked. They then redirect you to a live person who will be able to help you.
The “Support” person will get your personal information and credentials allowing them to now log into Apple accounts. In addition, sometimes the victim is asked to pay a fee to solve virus issues. Instead of anti-virus software, they are given malware.
Disconnect immediately and do not call or text anyone. If the issue is legitimate, the correct individuals will contact you in the appropriate ways.
If you have concerns about your various accounts, get out a copy of your bill and use their appropriate number.
Society has created an environment where these scammers, who demonstrate a modicum of intelligence, are free to proliferate.
They are allowed to direct their energy and intelligence towards illegal phone fraud, instead of channeling efforts into the conventional job route. The “job” route must not have been rewarding enough, or in the right way, for them to continue.
Scammers must receive enough financial benefit from these ventures. I happen to believe that there is an additional motivation. It is my opinion that they get an adrenalin type of rush, each time they dupe someone. I believe it is like any addiction, there is the initial rush, then the desire for more. Someone should do a study on this…
Be Careful When Answering Your Phone!
These people are savvy manipulators, who take advantage of the emotions of vulnerable people.
This is why these stupid scams will continue to work.
These scammers are trying to take a short cut to obtain money. There is no way to condone this behaviour.
Today, it is quite common to need more money than the average pay cheque is providing.
One way to solve this, is to try to make extra money online. That is what I did. I started researching ways to make a little extra money online, that would be used to supplement my retirement.
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If you have any comments or questions, I welcome them below.