Spam calls are ubiquitous as scammers have found other ways to trick consumers into buying car warranty or other services and giving up personal data.
The number of voice and text message spam, also known as robocalls and robotexting, has increased even as consumers attempt to thwart them. Cybercriminals are looking to make a quick buck and steal your identity.
Vehicle warranties are the biggest scam right now, followed by fake Medicare calls and tax fraud claims, according to a report by TrueCaller, a Stockholm-based call and spam blocking app.
Phone scams are lucrative for fraudsters The average amount of money lost to phone scams was $577, up 14.94% from the previous year’s average of $502.
More than 68 million Americans fell in love with racketeering, costing a total of $39.5 billion, the highest amount on record, according to the report.
Most Popular Phone Scams
Some phone spam is harmless and simply aggressive and deceptive, Phosphorus Cybersecurity chief security officer Brian Contos told TheStreet. Many others, however, are more malicious with the aim of stealing people’s money and identity by infecting their devices with malware.
Scammers are sophisticated and continue to adopt strategies that make calls more authentic. A common scheme used by hackers is called “neighbor spoofing,” which is when the criminal uses phone numbers with the local area code to target people.
Auto warranty scams are a “huge problem” and have exploded recently, Contos said. They attract people by making the situation seem urgent. “If the victim falls for the trap and pays for the fake warranty renewal, they will lose that money — usually between $1,000 and $3,000,” Contos said.
Even worse, the fake customer service representative’s plan is to also steal the person’s financial and personal information, such as date of birth and social security number.
Because car registration data is readily available, it is easy for scammers to target people.
“This allows the scammer to impersonate a legitimate car dealership or insurance company, as they will know the actual make, model and year of your vehicle and may even know the license plate number. “, did he declare. “That’s usually enough to convince most people they’re dealing with a real company and not a scammer.”
Since auto repairs can be expensive, expiring a warranty can increase the anxiety felt by owners.
“Criminals know they can pressure a consumer in this way and use their fears and anxieties to override their common sense,” said Jason Glassberg, co-founder of Casaba Security, an ethical hacking firm based in Redmond, Washington.
Another purpose of these scam calls is to verify active phone numbers which leads to more calls.
“These calls will either ask the victim to wait for an operator to join the call, or ask the victim to press a number on their screen to speak to an operator or be removed from the call. call list,” Contos said. “No matter which button the consumer presses, it will then be verified as an active phone number and that data will be sold to other scammers.”
Hackers use a variety of scare tactics in fake texts, including claiming that people owe the IRS back taxes and must pay immediately to avoid arrest with fake Venmo users and Zelle me-to scams. -me, he said.
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Fraudsters are also constantly working on new scams to attract unsuspecting victims.
Top scams include those that tell consumers they’ve ordered big-ticket services or items like an iPhone only to trick people into pressing one or calling back, Alex Quilici, CEO of YouMail, an email provider app-based calls based in Irvine, CA. protective services, told TheStreet.
“We see it hitting a lot more brands now,” he said.
Scammers often follow the news cycle to trick people into giving up their information, said Alex Hamerstone, director of consulting solutions at TrustedSec, an ethical hacking and computer incident response firm based in Fairlawn, Arizona. Ohio, at TheStreet.
“With the economy deteriorating, there are a lot more scam calls about foreclosures,” he said.
A new fraud to watch is the email scam that offers an offer that is too good to be true and includes a phone number to call, Rich Quattrocchi, vice president of digital transformation at Mutare, a communications and Chicago-based corporate security, told TheStreet.
“Once you dial the number, the scammers have you and you’re off guard,” he said.
Advice for consumers
Consumers don’t have many options for blocking unwanted callers because they use VoIP tools that allow them to generate a virtually unlimited number of phone numbers, Contos said.
“They will use a different number to call you each time,” he said.
Avoid sharing your cell phone number on social media and marketing requests, such as a rewards account, he recommended.
“You’re better off using a virtual number like Google Voice that will route to your cell phone and you can change it anytime,” Contos said.
Spam text messages should be treated as suspicious email.
“It’s also important that you never call a number included in the message,” he said. “Text messages will try to manipulate your emotions into doing something stupid. They will try to scare you or play on your anxieties about overdue bills or overdrawn accounts.”
One tool to fight back is to install a reputable app that blocks voice and text spam such as Nomorobo, RoboKiller, YouMail and Hiya, Quattrocchi said.
“These apps are very good at reducing unwanted calls but aren’t perfect,” he said. “Some annoying scam calls will come through. I recently added Nomorobo Max to my cell phone and haven’t received a robocall since installing it.
The call screening protection offered by mobile carriers isn’t that effective and “criminals will always get through,” Glassberg told TheStreet.