A CNN.com research recently showcases that 55% of web traffic comes from mobile devices. Then, 64% Americans own a smartphone. In the coming years, the penetration of mobile phone connectivity and availability is likely to increase manifolds. Then, the modern business landscape is all about embracing the idea of mobility, and mobile phones are at the center of the force.
The implications are clear – mobile devices are a crucial and almost ubiquitous aspect of how humans use the Internet and engage in communications. Another implication, however, is that this platform automatically becomes the focus area for scammers, hackers, fraudsters, and cyber criminals of the worse sort. I hope you recognize the risks of phone scams affecting your business. This guide will help you acknowledge them, and more important, prepare you to stay safe.
Vishing (Voice Phishing)
Because of the human element, voice phishing has, unfortunately, high success rates among scammers. They use scare tactics, or build confidence among victims, and ask for their financial information.
Information is invaluable, and even if information theft doesn’t exactly translate into a financial loss for you, it could well happen very soon. Fraudsters are always hunting for more information on prospective victims. So, whatever happens, never share any information with a caller you’re not 100% sure about.
Forget about your credit card or social security number, it’s a good practice to not even tell your name to the caller. If it sounds important, ask the caller to speak up, and express your willingness to confirm the correctness of information with YES/NO answers.
Is your spouse at home? What’s your permanent residence address? Whatever the question may be, don’t answer. Plus, note that reputed companies are already aligning their customer support processes to accommodate these safety measures. In a business environment, it’s crucial that your employees know how to deal with spam calls, instead of giving away personal or business info.
SMS has become an increasingly risky proposition, considering how frequently news stories of SMS based scams are coming up. From links that inject malware into your phones when you click on them to links that make you subscribe to expensive services without you actually wanting to – these scams can take any shape. Here’s how you can help your business employees stay safe.
● Ignore messages from numbers that don’t appear to be proper cell phone numbers (such as 5000); these are invariably from email to SMS systems, which are favorites among spammers and scammers.
● Don’t respond to scary or urgent-sounding messages; make it a point to quickly check the number using an online directory. Check Up Number, for instance, offers this service for America and Canada.
● Resist the temptation to click on links that promise to give you free ringtones, special vouchers, etc.
● Calling back on a scam SMS contact number could incur high charges on your phone, avoid it.
One Ring Scams
Beware of one ring calls on your phone, which you will invariably miss, and attempt to call back. Because these are high toll lines, you will be charged hefty fees for the call. Business phone connections are the perfect victims for scammers because field personnel finds it necessary to call back for missed calls.
It can be difficult, but it’s important to explain to your employees to ignore one ring calls because if it’s a business call, it’s likely that the other person will call back. Plus, it helps if employees have decent Internet connectivity on their phones to be able to quickly check the contact number online.
Scammers pose as hospital representatives, insurance agents, IRS agents, and immigration officers, using pressure tactics to create a false sense of urgency. They mostly ask you to either make a deposit of a certain amount in an account, or face the risk of your bank account being frozen, or your business being blacklisted. Make it a point to never get drawn into conversations that are steering towards a financial transaction, on the phone. Ask for an alternative contact number, ask for the identify identification number of the caller, and ask them to send you an official email.
The moment you let your guard down, you will be bombarded with malicious phone calls. Instead, act on the advice shared in this guide, and stay secure.