India is currently in 9th position when it comes to countries most affected by spam calls. From a survey conducted by Truecaller, it highlighted that 76% men, 78%-woman, 85% old, 72% rich and 71% poor population where targeted the most.
With Phone scams going around, this article will teach you the basics of what to look out for. But before we go in deep to uncover how to avoid these malicious attacks, lets first understand what Phone scams are.
What are Phone scams?
Phone scams, also known as Vishing typically involves the bad guys making fraudulent phone calls or leaving voice messages deceiving people into believing they are speaking to reputable people such as a police officer, member from the bank, or a representative of another trusted company or agency such as a government official. The main goal behind Phone scams is to trick individuals into revealing personal information, such as their bank details and credit card numbers.
According to Truecaller, the scammers will tend to “hook unsuspecting people using either phone calls or SMS, and they will try to get you to give up sensitive information about your financials or force you to reveal a OTP with the ultimate aim of extracting money from your bank accounts or digital wallets.
There are many different types of Phone scams that anyone can fall for.
Types of Phone Scams
As scammers continue to outsmart their victims with clever tricks, the type of people they usually go for is the elderly. Here are the most common types of phone scams you need to be aware of.
1. Bank Scams
This is when someone calls you from the bank telling you that there’s a problem with your card or account. The caller will often sound professional and try to convince you that you card has been cloned or that your money is at risk. They may ask for your account and card details, including your PIN number. In some cases, they may even offer to send a courier to collect your card.
Bank related phone scams have been gone further, where criminals have advised their victims to move their money to a ‘safe account’ to protect it. This happened to a person who had received a call from someone calling to be from the victim’s bank’s customer service center. The caller had convinced the victim that their account was in the process of getting upgraded and updated. Therefore the following details were required:
- Account number
- CVV number
- Expiry date
- Savings bank account number.
Several unauthorized transactions had occurred. Our advice is if someone calls you claiming to be from the bank don’t give them your details.
These usually occur after a new mobile phone has been purchased. Scammers call their victims claiming to be associated with the company from where the victim had purchased their phone. The bad guys will often sell insurance. Worst case scenario is these victims will end up buying insurance but will never get it.
Last year, UK citizens had witnessed a different type of Phone scam where random individuals where receiving fraudulent calls from people supposedly from the Government informing them that their National Insurance Number had been compromised. Many had fallen for this giving away sensitive information.
Another habit to change is your response to calls from unknown numbers. If you receive a call or text from a number you don’t recognize, don’t respond. A woman had received a phone call telling her that there was an ongoing court case against her over unpaid tax bills. She was told that if she paid £999 the case would go better for her. In a panic, she paid the amount was told it was not enough. Therefore she had gone back to the bank with the scammer still on the line, and had transferred another £4000.
4.Pension and Investment Scams
There have been cases where fraudsters will call their victims offering the chance to buy shares, wine investment, land banking, carbon credits and more. Another emerging type of Phone scam is “pension loans”. Many have lost their entire life savings to investment scammers.
How to avoid Phone Scams:
1.Give Nothing Away: Fraudsters are hunting for information. Therefore your best defence is to tell them nothing. If they try to confirm your name, don’t tell them. If they ask if your spouse is at home, don’t reply. If they want to verify your home address, simply hang up. Any bit of information you give, can be used as a tool to extract personal information and harm you.
2.I’ll call you: If the caller insists that they have to speak with you, tell the that you will call them back directly. At this point, fraudsters will often give you a phone number to call. Don’t believe them.
3.Take your time: Scammers often try to create false deadlines. If you feel pressured to make a decision, hang up. You’ve spent a lifetime earning your money. You deserve a little time to choose how you spend it.
4.Hang up: If you feel harassed or intimated, end the call. It may feel rude to hang up, but you have the right not to be pressured into doing anything.
4.Do not go on fake websites following a cold call: If you happen to visit a website after a cold call, chances are you’ll end up downloading a virus, allowing access to your computer or mobile thus giving personal information. We advise avoiding visiting websites.
5.Be strong and put safety first: You get all sorts of phone calls. Friends, family, business associates, scams, and fraudulent callers. Just asking basic questions and verifying caller information can easily stop you from making a big mistake. Some of these rules may come off sounding rude. But remember: it’s rude for a scammer, telemarketer, and fake non-profit to call you. Real companies won’t be offended.
Though we cannot stop Phone scams from happening, we can take precautions by following these simple steps.