Nowadays, almost everyone has a phone. In the United States, 95% of the population rely on mobile phones for leisure and communication. Given this trend, marketing agencies had found a more practical way to reach their potential customers. Instead of knocking door to door to introduce their products, advertising has become more accessible and personalized through multimedia platforms.
Through ads, companies gather information about their prospects, such as their email addresses and phone numbers. This is precisely why you receive spam messages, telemarketing ads, and robocalls. If these get too disturbing, you can contact the IT services of security agencies, so that they can help you stop receiving them.
While these marketing methods can benefit individuals looking for this precise information or product, they have their downside. For example, you could become a victim of scams and identity theft just by answering your phone. To avoid this, never disclose your identity to unknown callers. Here are five of the most prevalent reasons why.
Not all callers have good intentions
Despite having angelic voices and polite manners, not everyone who sells or offers information has good intentions. Some are simply phishing and vishing to get sensitive information out of you for devious reasons. For example, phishing is a strategy that uses deception to get people to reveal personal and confidential information. Phishing perpetrators use emails, regular phone calls, and fake websites to fool their unsuspecting victims. Overall, the information they gather can be used to steal, harass, or scam.
Vishing, on the other hand, is the process of gathering information through Internet Telephone Service (VoIP). Scammers impersonate legitimate businesses to emotionally manipulate consumers into disclosing pertinent information, which they will use to steal.
If you are using an iPhone, here’s a good read about how to block or unblock unwanted callers.
Phone scams are spreading like wildfire
Believe it or not, even answering one question could make you a victim of a scam. For decades, fraudsters have been posing as government agents to siphon personal details out of taxpayers. Answering questions over the phone like, “What is your name?” could actually cost you money or a lot more. If the scammers record your voice, they could use it to authorize unknown charges from your bank account and credit card.
Sometimes, scammers even ask “yes” or “no” questions like, “Are you the house owner?” or “Are you responsible for paying your bills?” If they record your responses to the questions, they are then able to use your voice to confirm transactions or accept services. If you suspect that certain individuals are siphoning information from you, contact the IT support of the Federal Communications Commission to report the numbers and trace the fraudsters.
Avoid cyberbullying and harassment
Cyberbullying is a form of harassment that takes place over digital devices such as cellphones and laptops. Children and teenagers are not the only ones susceptible to this crime. Many adults report their fair share of phone bullying, usually from unknown callers.
IT services have been receiving many reports about this, especially in the form of insults, threats, and emotional manipulation. Fraudsters can call and claim that a family member is in the hospital and requires you to send a specific financial contribution to pay for his/her medical care. Don’t fall for this trap! Hang up and confirm the information before you decide to act.
Identity theft is rampant
Siphoners follow a specific criterion in choosing a victim. Chances are, they already have a list of names and phone numbers. The only thing left to do is to finalize the selection through a three-stage process. The first phase is a silent phone call. If you answer, it confirms that they have the correct number and that there is a person at the end of the line.
The second stage is the collection of personal information. You will receive a phone call that drives you to disclose pertinent information. You might receive a message from your credit card company saying that your account has issues. To resolve it, they will require your name, address, Social Security Number, and your birth date to confirm you are the owner of the account.
The third and last step is pretending to be you and calling your financial institution. By using your information, they breach the security measures to check your card balance. This, in turn, convinces fraudsters that your account is legitimate and worth stealing from. The next thing you know, your account is empty and criminals have full access to it.
Banks, credit card services and insurance companies never call and ask for private and account information. They already have it in their system. If you suspect fraud, seek help from cybercrime security, so that you can pinpoint the caller’s identity and help trace the location of the scammer.
For your safety and security
When criminals get a hold of your home address, you and your family might be in grave danger. Most burglars utilize phone calls to ascertain which families are worth stealing from. Then, they try to get information about the family’s activities — where you work, where your children go to school, and the usual time you get home. They use these details to strategize a heist that could cost you big property losses.
In 2019, 58.5 million robocalls have been recorded in the United States alone, and the trend continues to increase this year. To save yourself from scams and identity theft, don’t disclose any personal information over a phone call. Experts also recommend to never engage first.
To protect yourself from fraudsters and enhance your phone security, it’s smart to learn more about the latest info concerning phishing and vishing. By doing so, you can get better acquainted with how criminals work and how to protect your data from theft.