Phones these days are ubiquitous to the point that our lives are quite tied to them. Our phone has our social media accounts, which means our social network is with then, as well as online banking, shopping, and delivery, which means our addresses and places of work are in our phones as well. This is why keeping our phones and the information they hold secure and safe is of utmost importance.
However, we cannot stop unscrupulous people from trying to victimize unsuspecting phone users. By hacking into your phone, they get your information as you may end up swiped of all your money, not to mention your identity may also be duplicated. So, without further ado, here are the common scams on your phone and ways you may stop them.
Phones can also be “phished”
We usually associate the term “phishing” with email, but crafty cybercriminals have expanded their activities to include instant messaging and SMS, too. In other words, various electronic communication methods can also victimize you on your phone, and before you know it, a stranger can access your device.
Security researchers have discovered a phishing campaign that specifically targets users of Android devices, which could result in compromise if unsigned Android applications are permitted on the device.
The campaign seeks to deliver Anubis, a malware that was originally used for cyber-espionage, now retooled as a banking trojan. Anubis can completely hijack an Android mobile device, steal data, record phone calls, and even hold the device to ransom by encrypting the victim’s personal files, said a blog post by researchers at Cofense.
More on “smishing”
In fact, there is already a word specifically for smartphone phishing – smishing. Recipients do not get a scam email, but instead a scammy text message on your smartphone. In a new wave of smishing scams, text messages allegedly from FedEx contains a tracking code with a link that allegedly lets you “set delivery preferences.”
If you tap that link on your phone (and you shouldn’t), you’ll end up on a fake Amazon site (a phishing site) with a fraudulent “free reward.” The site will request your credit card information for “shipping fees.” If you provide payment details, you’ll be billed $98.95 every month.
Smartphone fake calls
Of course, instead of messages, there are some scammers that result in good ol’ call. What sounds like a legitimate call can turn out to be a scam with you already giving away sensitive information. Also, there have been an increase in the number of scammers posing as FBI or government agents trying to extract information from unsuspecting people who answer their calls.
But, anyone can fake or spoof a number and make it show up on your smartphone. If you let the call go to voicemail, when you listen, you will know it is a fake call if the caller is making threats of arrest or demanding money.
The SIM Swap
A SIM swap scam happens when someone imitates you and convinces your carrier to redirect your number to theirs by requesting from the carrier to activate a SIM card that is under the control of the impersonator. If not used to scam people, this service is supposed to be really helpful to phone owners, as the request is supposed to allow you to still use your existing number even if you lose your phone or if you’ve signed a new contract with the same carrier.
SIM swapping doesn’t require you to do anything wrong. Even if you’ve done an excellent job of keeping your online identity secure, you can still be a victim. These scammers gain control of your phone number by convincing your cellular carrier that they’re you. They simply ask the carrier to transfer the number to a new phone, much like you would if you were upgrading your phone, or bribe a worker at a carrier retail shop. The scammer doesn’t have to hack or break into anything: your cellular carrier does all the work for them.
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