(RightWing.org) – Most of us have smartphones now, and they’re amazingly useful devices. They also have a downside, though. Scammers are increasingly targeting them — and many people are making mistakes that let criminals get hold of their vital data.
Security experts are warning that scammers are trying to get hold of phone numbers because as the devices become key parts of our lives, even such a simple piece of information can be used to defraud us. Here are five tricks scammers could use against you:
- Using Fake Numbers. Scammers will call you, using a fake number to mask their real one and pretending to be an important caller. If you answer, they know your number is real and active. Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers; if you do answer a call, and a recorded voice asks you to do anything, hang up — and never respond to missed calls from unknown numbers.
- Social Media Searches. Think twice before putting personal information — especially your phone number — on social media. Scammers will search for numbers and then put together any other information you reveal to make their calls more convincing.
- Harvesting Through Contracts. If you sign up for a new contract, it’s likely to ask for a lot of information. Read carefully to ensure you understand what information it wants, and why. Many companies will sell information — and scammers can buy it.
- Password Security Hacks. Many struggle to remember all the passwords they need to know. It’s tempting to reuse the same password for multiple apps or devices or to write them down somewhere. Unfortunately, either of these options makes it much easier for scammers to break in. Get a password manager that lets you store all your login data and protects it with a single password.
- Text Grabbing. Scammers can use technology to grab text messages from your phone — and that can give them access to your two-factor authentication codes. Where you can, rely on non-text authentication methods, like fingerprint readers or facial recognition.
Always exercise caution when it comes to people asking for money or gift cards. Sometimes, even the smallest of mistakes can lead to a significant loss if scammers can gain access to your bank account.
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