Top Mobile Phone Scams – Tips on How to Avoid Mobile Scams

Top Mobile Phone Scams – Tips on How to Avoid Mobile Scams

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Top Mobile Phone Scams – Tips on How to Avoid Mobile Scams

Mobile phones are now an inseparable part of our lives. Our hearts start pacing and our minds become impatient if we are separated from our phones even for one second. But this addiction is not the only problem with mobile phones. Be wary of the common mobile phone scams too!

Mobile phones have become the hot spot for hackers and scammers due to their widespread usage. This makes mobile users very susceptible to missed call scams, mobile phone text scams, and various other frauds.

The following sections shall enlighten you on the top mobile phone scams and tips on how to avoid mobile phone scams.

Nomophobia – Fear of Being Without a Mobile Phone

The mobile phone fever has gripped nations all across the globe.

People find it difficult to stay without their mobile phones even for a split second. So much so that the addiction to mobile phones has led to a new form of a mental disorder called ‘Nomophobia’.

Nomophobia is the fear of being without a mobile device.

It is the result of the insidious addiction to mobile phones for various activities, usually to avoid boredom. People suffering from nomophobia tend to experience stress, anxiety, depression, and loneliness when parted from their mobile devices.

Therefore, mobile phones have the potential of ruining your health as well as defrauding you through mobile phone scams.

Here’s a food for your thought.

Do mobile phones really deserve so much attention and power to ruin our lives? Think about it.

Top Mobile Phone Scams

Mobile phones have led us humans to a very sorry state of affairs.

Look around. Be it at the dinner table, a family function, a formal meeting or any social gathering. You can easily take stock of how a mobile phone has reared its ugly head!
But, here’s a thought. Where is this leading us to?

Excessive mobile phone addiction can make us mentally ill. Plus, we stand the chance of losing our respect, identity and/or money through various mobile phone scams and frauds.

Here are some of the top mobile phone scams that users must be cautious of.

Be Aware of These Common Mobile Phone Scams

1. Mobile App-based Scams

Do you know? Google Play Store has more than 3.3 million apps at present. This is sure to spoil you for choice. While it may be fun and engaging to have multiple apps on your mobile phone for various activities, beware of mobile app-based scams!

Certain smartphone apps, especially the free ones, can pose risks of data breach and identity theft. They may contain malware or malicious software that can enable hackers to access your personal data.

A study involving more than 400,000 mobile apps available on Google Play Store revealed that nearly 10.8% of such apps can compromise sensitive data. Also, around 24.7% of mobile apps in the study had at least one highly dangerous security flaw!

Nearly 50% of the mobile apps that you download send personal data such as phone number, call logs, IMEI number and location to ad networks!

2. Mobile Phone Text Scams

Received an SMS from your bank informing you of a fraudulent transaction? Check again if it’s really from your bank.

Fake text messages from banks are one of the most common types of mobile phone text scams.

Such messages look like they have been sent from a bank. Users are prompted to call the number provided in the SMS or visit a website. Once that is done, hackers may gain access to your financial details or other sensitive personal information.

Another popular method is to send an SMS feigning to be sent by a friend or family member.

These mobile phone text scams trap the user to make a call or reply to the message. It is only once the victim makes a call or sends a message that he/she realizes that the charges for the same are unusually high!

3. Missed Call Scams or One-ring Scams

Received missed calls from numbers having unfamiliar country codes such as +284, +473, +809 or +876?

Beware, such calls are a part of missed call scams!

In missed call scams or one-ring scams, fraudsters call multiple random numbers per hour through automatic dialers. The call is usually set to ring just once.

When victims return the call, they are usually connected to a paid international hotline for adult entertainment. While some victims immediately disengage from further communication, some stay hooked for longer. This costs them an exorbitant amount once they disconnect.

Another possibility is of the victims being targeted for a phishing or email scam in the future.

Avoid Receiving or Returning Calls with Unfamiliar Country Codes!

Research has shown that such one-ring scams mostly originate from Jamaica (876), Grenada (473), Dominican Republic (809), and British Virgin Islands (284).

In fact, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued a public notice to avoid receiving or calling back on numbers having country codes of Belarus (+375) and Pakistan (+92).

4. Phone Insurance Scams

Did you just purchase a new mobile handset and got a call from a phone insurance company? We hope yours wasn’t a scam!

Phone Insurance Scams are one of the common mobile phone scams to defraud users. In this, users get a call from a fraudulent phone insurance company claiming to be a genuine one. They persuade the victim to purchase a phone insurance from them.

Some innocent victims fall for it and end up paying only to realize that they have been cheated!

Make sure that you always demand the proper credentials of the caller including a return phone number. Abstain from disclosing any personal or financial information over the phone, especially when the call is not initiated by you.

5. Cloning

In case scammers gain access to your IMEI or mobile number, you stand the chances of being the victim of mobile phone scams such as cloning.

The IMEI or mobile number is unique to a particular phone and can be used to program another mobile phone. This enables them to make you pay for the calls made or data used from the cloned phone!

It’s shocking that more than 1,300 cases of mobile cloning were registered from 2009 to 2012 in India!

If you find yourself paying for mobile bills that you find suspicious, contact your network provider immediately. They may be able to assist you in tracking if the calls were made on your phone or a cloned phone? In fact, check with your mobile insurance provider about coverage of unauthorized calls.

6. Subscriber Fraud

Subscriber Frauds are also the top mobile phone scams defrauding users by gaining access to their personal information.

In such mobile phone scams, a conman opens a mobile phone account using the victim’s name. You may be paying ridiculously high bills even without realizing that you are a part of a mobile phone scam. However, what you may not want to hear is that it’s not an easy process to prove that you haven’t opened the account yourself!

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of the United States of America has quoted the losses born by mobile phone companies for Subscriber Frauds as over $150 million dollars per year!

To avoid such mobile phone scams, avoid sharing your identity or personal details with anyone. In case you feel you have been targeted for subscriber fraud, contact your mobile phone carrier immediately.

7. Ransomware Scams

Yes, it is not just your computer but also your mobile phones that are prone to a ransomware attack!

Mobile ransomware scams are just like computer-based ransomware attacks. In this too, scammers hold the victim’s phone ransom till a payment is received to free it.

Stay alert! In case your mobile’s screen freezes suddenly while surfing the net, this is what is likely to happen next. You would then receive an official-looking message asking you to pay a fine for legal violations. It would ask you to deposit the penalty into a debit account in order to use your phone again.

Beware! This is a mobile ransomware scam.

Report such ransomware scams immediately and NEVER make any payments for ransom.

8. Recorded Message Scams

Recorded message scams are similar to missed call scams. However, in such cases, victims receive a voice message instead of a missed call.

Usually, an information about a prize prompts the user to call back for more information. When the victim calls back, he/she is charged a huge fee similar to the missed call scams.

Please abstain from calling back if you ever receive such recorded messages on your phone.

Tips on How to Avoid Mobile Scams?

While it may not always be possible to avoid the ingeniously crafted mobile phone scams, one can always exercise caution.

In fact, in case your phone is lost or stolen, you risk having your personal information out in the open! There isn’t much you can do here other than NOT being careless about your phone.

Always ensure that you have strong passwords on your phone. We suggest you download a verified app that helps users track their mobile in case it is lost or stolen. These days apps that enable a user to remotely wipe off data from their phone if it is online are also available.

Here are some more tips on how to avoid mobile scams.

Avoiding Mobile Phone Text Scams

Be very careful of the text messages that you receive and respond to. In case you are suspicious of the sender, never call back on the numbers suggested or click on any link. Immediately call your network provider and keep them informed.

Avoiding Missed Call Scams or One-Ring Scams

Never return a missed call from an unknown number, especially if it has an unfamiliar country code. If it’s very critical to return the call, better use Google or Truecaller to check the authenticity of the number. Such numbers are often marked as ‘spam’.

Avoiding Mobile Ransomware

To avoid mobile ransomware, be very cautious of the apps that you download on your phone. Avoid downloading apps that evade the phone’s genuine App Store. Avoid engaging in financial transactions or exchanging personal information when connected to a public WiFi.

Avoiding Mobile App-based Scams

Make sure that you always download apps from official mobile app stores. Review the permissions that the app seeks to access your personal files. Some malicious apps demand permission to access a long list of information on your device. This should ring the warning bells!

Incognito Forensic Foundation – Always By Your Side to Fight Mobile Phone Scams

Smartphones these days handle multiple tasks such as internet banking, web browsing etc. This makes your mobile phones as susceptible to malicious attacks as your laptop or computer. Remember that you need to take the security of your phone as seriously as you would for your computer.

Now that you have crucial insights into the top mobile phone scams that you are vulnerable to, educate others and ensure that you tread cautiously.
For everything else, Incognito Forensic Foundation (IFF Lab) is there by your side!

IFF Lab supports individuals and Law Enforcement Agencies in fighting mobile phone scams. It is a private forensic laboratory situated in Bangalore, Chennai and other prime locations across India. With a state-of-the-art digital forensics lab and a repertoire of cyber and digital forensics experts, IFF Lab has carved a niche in the investigation of cyber crimes in India.

Contact IFF Lab for Investigation of Mobile Phone Scams.