Many now carry a cell phone with their keys, wallet or purse. Everywhere you look, people in restaurants, waiting rooms, sitting in their cars, or walking down the street have a phone glued to their ear or are surfing the Internet or sending messages. As a society heavily dependent on wireless technology, we are dangerously susceptible to a multitude of new cell phone scams.
Below is a brief description of some of the more common cell phone scams that are taking place:
• Stolen And Lost Phones - It is estimated that over three million cellphones are stolen or lost in the United States every year. These stolen phones may be used to make unauthorized calls often costing the owner a great deal of money. A thief may also steal personal information including stored contacts as well as other data from the phone’s Sim Card. Keep your cell phone protected at all times and regard it like it is your personal identification.
• Cloning - A tech-savvy fraudster using available technology may wirelessly capture an active cell number and telephone serial number. Using these two pieces of information, the thief can clone the wireless cell phone by programming another phone with the same cell and serial numbers which then allows the thief to make calls at the owner’s expense. Recently, there has been progress in protecting a consumer from this type of cloning theft as the development of new technology makes it more difficult to scan for the phone number. However, always review your cell phone bill timely and advise your phone company of any unauthorized charges.
• Subscriber Fraud - Subscriber fraud is one of the more common cell phone scams, costing the industry an estimated $150 million a year. It works by someone stealing your personal identity and opening a cell phone account in your name and racking up huge bills that eventually land in your mailbox. Needless to say it is critical that everyone protect themselves from Identify Theft.
• Eavesdropping – No one has complete privacy when using a cell phone and technology now exists that allows thieves to listen to wireless calls and download phone records. It is frightening that an individual may be tracked via their cell phone and a thief may determine where the individual is or has been. Utilizing password protection and maintaining possession of a cell phone will make it difficult for a thief to install software that could be used for eavesdropping on wireless conversations.
• Ring Tone Scams - Beware of the free downloadable ring tones, as they can be hacked by scammers who can install a virus that either damages the phone or steals confidential information. Only download ring tones from established, reputable companies and avoid returning messages or calls from people or organizations you don’t know.
• Random Text Messages – Many variations of this type fraud exist but typically, a person may receive an unsolicited text message prompting some sort of action that may be later regretted. A typical example would be a message which appears to be from a credit union or bank stating that your account has been suspended. The message will list a 1-800 number to call. It may even request you provide a PIN, and other personal details. Do not respond as this is a basic effort to steal one’s identity.
• The Competition - Competition among wireless providers is often fierce and the user is usually the victim. Users may receive a message stating that their wireless contract has come to an end and a rate increase will affect the next billing cycle. There might even be a call to upgrade the phone or monthly plan. These efforts may be deceitful and require further inquiry. Verify the caller’s affiliation by requesting information about your account or current phone usage. If the caller can’t inform you when you made your last call or sent an SMS message, they are not likely to be who they say they are.
• The Fine Print – As a consumer, you may be hunting for a better cell phone plan or higher grade phone. You may be sold on the competition. The reality comes with your first bill as there may be charges that you did not expect which were hidden in the fine print. This is more common than most people think and it is highly recommended to read the Terms & Conditions carefully to avoid being hit with ancillary charges.
In conclusion, view your cell phone as a device with personal information just like your wallet and driver’s license. Treat the phone with great care and look out for scams that will put you at risk of identity theft. It could cost you a great deal of money and a tremendous amount of time and effort to resolve.
Article Source: Allied Solutions