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How to Spot and Stop Mobile and Online Scams - go!

How to Spot and Stop Mobile and Online Scams

The digital world doesn’t have to be a scary place

As the world continuously shifts towards the digital sphere, reliable broadband connectivity and communication services have become integral parts of people's daily lives. Now, you can make all sorts of transactions with just a few clicks, thanks to smartphones and online platforms.

While these technological advancements are both exciting and practical, there are risks that come with your reliance on the internet. Hackers and fraudsters can now also pull off wiser tactics to steal other people's data for their own gain. To mitigate the ever-increasing number of cybercrime cases, learning how to spot and stop them will be vital.

6 Types of Mobile and Online Scams

Let this guide cue you in on the different types of mobile and cyber scams to watch out for.

1. Phishing emails

Phishing emails

With one in every 4,200 emails falling under this category, phishing is one of the most common types of online frauds out there. A spin on the word fishing, this scam is where criminals impersonate an organization or individual through a legitimate-looking email, hoping that a user will take the bait and provide their personal information as requested.

2. SMS phishing

Another kind of phishing attack is this SMS-based scam, also known as smishing. SMS phishing cases increased by 328% in 2020 alone. Like its email counterpart, smishing involves a con artist using well-constructed text messages to trick users into providing sensitive information.

Fraudsters may impersonate authorities or organizations and send you too-good-to-be-true promos or penalty threats. These schemes can also involve hyperlinks from unverified numbers that, when clicked, infect a device and provide criminals access to its data without getting detected.

3. SIM Swap Scam

Apart from smishing, SIM swap scams are another common type of  fraud. Cybercriminals commonly target individuals who frequently use their phones for mobile banking or shopping and confirm their transactions with a one time pin (OTP). They start by gathering intel about your personal accounts, and will then attempt to intercept your OTP through various means.

Thieves usually pretend to be a relevant authority and will contact you directly to acquire your OTP.  In some cases, bolder criminals may even pretend to be your communications partner and will offer you a replacement sim. If these two acts are being done to you, you should view them as red flags. Whether it’s Globe or your chosen bank, any legitimate institution will never engage with you in that manner. 

To stay safe from SIM swap scams, it’s important that you never share your OTPs with anyone. You should also refrain from sharing information such as your birthday, dog’s name or home address on your social media accounts since these bits of information can potentially be used against you. If you suspect that you’re being targeted, change your passwords immediately and get in touch with the relevant authorities.

4. Fake websites

Another infamous trap on the internet is proxy websites. These sites are rather creative and meticulous, as they can look exactly like the original ones. Here, visitors can fall victim to false giveaways or security alerts, ultimately getting them to send in their details and letting the scammer launch a virus on their devices.

5. Scareware scam

Like hoax web pages, this mobile virus scam leverages users' fear via an alarming security pop-up that urges them to download an antivirus application, which is, ironically, malware or spyware in disguise. Once the malicious code is in the system, the hacker can hijack the device and obtain credentials to important accounts stored in it.

6. One-ring scam

A call from an unknown number that would only ring once is precisely how a one-ring scam works. With the sole objective of getting a user to return the call, a scammer sometimes goes to great lengths and leaves voicemails to initiate a user's sense of urgency. The scammer profits when they get a callback as the number automatically gets charged throughout the dial.

Tips to Stay Safe Online

Tips to Stay Safe Online
© Forbes

To steer clear of online scams and cybercrimes, here are effective security tips to keep in mind.

    1. Create secure passwords. Make sure all your devices have strong passwords in place. Use alphanumeric characters with varying cases and symbols. For PINs that require digits, choose a combination that isn't basic or based on your personal information. Downloading password managers can also be of great use!

    2. Use multi-factor authentication (MFA). Utilize MFA when logging in to your accounts. Whether it's a security key, one-time pin (OTP) or a facial recognition scan, this added layer of protection ensures that only you can access your data.

    3. Install and update security software. As a rule of thumb, always update your phone's operating system ASAP. Apart from improving performance, these updates patch deficiencies in the old OS. You can also look into third-party solutions; just keep it up-to-date for any new features to aid in better virus detection and elimination.

    4. Utilize a virtual private network (VPN). Although public Wi-Fi is convenient, it's not your safest bet when connecting to the internet. Before linking your device to any public network, use a VPN to keep your data from being spied on or traced through IP address records. Opt for mobile data when doing transactions like bank transfers so you can input sensitive credentials safely.

    5. Think before you click. Online safety starts with you, so be extra wary of your activities online. Confirm with authorized personnel first before you respond to emails or texts that ask for your details. If the sender pretended to be a member of a company, get in touch and report this to relevant authorities.  

Refrain from clicking links from unknown sources or unverified sites. If a site you're visiting doesn't have a lock icon on the top left corner, proceed with caution. This means that the site isn't encrypted and more susceptible to breaches.

Charge Against Cybercrimes Today

Prevent the spread of mobile-based schemes and postpaid scams! Now that data has overthrown oil as the world's most valued resource, data privacy enforcement has never been more important. Being aware of online threats and adopting the best security practices will greatly improve your online experience and will ensure your safety as you browse.

Here at Globe, we believe that making the online space fraud-free is a collective effort. Report mobile numbers that send fake promos, require you to share data or engage in any fraudulent activity. If an unverified individual is pretending to be us, knowing how to verify a text message from Globe and being aware of Globe’s official accounts will help you keep scammers at bay. Together, let's fight to stop spam and scams!

Art Matthew Ian Fetalver

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