Outsmart the latest phone scams

The fraud game is big and new scams are invented at a rapid pace. The more advanced technology becomes, the more advanced the techniques of scammers. Our smartphones are as complex as computers and not much more secure. We misplace them and, because we use them more often, they transmit a trove of sensitive data with a frequency that we underestimate. It’s no wonder then that cybercriminals have shifted their focus from computers to smartphones.

But the news isn’t all bad. One of the main reasons phone scams are successful is ignorance. Without information, anyone can fall victim to a clever scam. That’s why we want to help you stay vigilant and outwit even the craftiest of phone scams.

Fraudulent subscriptions

More people are finding themselves stuck with subscriptions, accounts and loans that they never authorised – these are most often the result of clickjacking. The act of clickjacking (a portmanteau of “click” and “hijacking”) involves deceiving a user into completing certain actions without their knowledge. For example, imagine a pop-up that invites you to play a video. But what looks like a play button might turn out to be a “buy now” CTA disguised as a play button. And just like that, you’ve paid for a year’s UCook subscription for your scammer.

Tip: There are add-ons you can download to expose clickjacking on desktop web browsers. On cellphones, clickjacking often takes the form of banner ads in apps. In all cases, a good rule is to never click anything that looks (or even feels) suspicious.

SIM swapping and porting

Scammers can also get rich by simply posing as you and asking your contacts for money. They can do this by either requesting a SIM swap for your number or porting it to a new mobile network. Your mobile network sends you a notification via SMS when you do a SIM swap or port to a new network, but most people might notice it too late. Your silence will be considered permission and the request will be carried out, moving the service of your number to a new SIM card or network. With full control of your number, the scammer can now download WhatsApp, impersonate you while faking an emergency and grift your unsuspecting contacts.

Tip: Do not ignore SMSes from your mobile network and act immediately when you suspect that your number is being moved to a new SIM card or mobile network.

Data mining

Who doesn’t love a fun yet unscientific personality quiz? Scammers certainly do and there’s no shortage of these quizzes on your Facebook feed. Quizzes like “How Old Will You Be When You Get Married?”, “Which Middleton Sister Are You?” or “How Will You Die?” might seem innocent enough but some of them are actually designed to elicit personal information from you. As they gather more data, they begin to build a psychological profile of you that they can use to hack you, feed you disinformation and propaganda (remember Cambridge Analytica?) or trick you into giving up your passwords and banking details.

Tip: Consider the data you generate as a commodity. Do not give it away cheaply even for the sake of a good laugh. Ask yourself: why does this quiz need to know my marital status to sort me into a Harry Potter house?

Prestigio devices are fully compliant with the latest security standards and we deliver regular firmware upgrades to keep them running at peak performance. If you’ve followed our advice and stayed vigilant, our devices will handle the rest.

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