We are all not strangers to getting unknown calls to our phones. These calls can be quite intrusive and frankly, a tad bit annoying since these calls come in at almost any hour of the day. Although they may seem like a few harmless calls, or pranks even, these mystery calls actually have a more sinister motive behind them.
Scammers and hackers now have access to the most advanced methods of conducting phone scams. With the right method, they wouldn’t even need you to say anything over the phone in order to be able to get the information they need to steal your identity and pose as yourself to banks, telco companies and real-estate agents. Let’s have a look at the few ways these scammers do it.
#1 Mobile Number Porting
Basically, what happens here is that someone technically “steals” your mobile phone number with you. These days, almost everything is connected to your mobile number, from bank accounts to digital payment accounts or cryptocurrency trading apps. However, the main target for the scammers in this method is to gain access to your number and eventually be able to bypass the two-factor verification or the two-step authorization which is widely used as an added safety feature.
The scammers first verify that your number is indeed being used by a real person by giving you a silent call. Once they are certain that there is a real person on the other line, they cut the call and begin their operations. They will then proceed to register your number with a telco carrier that is not of your own. Once this is done, the scammer will have complete access to your phone number and would be able to see all calls and messages being sent to you.
After that, they analyze your phone to see which financial apps you use, to pinpoint banks or payment accounts that you may have funds stored in. They then would be able to extract the pin number from the cache of your browser, which secretly stores every detail that you have entered into your browser. For the supposedly hard part, which is the two-step verification, the scammer requests that a mobile confirmation to be sent to your phone and while you get it, and begin to call your bank, they get one as well, allowing them “legal” access to your bank account to siphon off your hard earned cash.
#2 Voice Authorization
This method is fairly simple and straightforward. All the scammer needs from you is for you to say the magic word “yes”. Voice authorization is used in lots of applications as a verification method and they will need this to bypass the voice recognition methods, for your phones, banks or fund managing accounts.
Then kind of call that you will get is usually from an unknown number, located overseas. Be careful., however, because scammers and hackers are more detailed now and may invest in a local number to increase the likelihood of anyone picking up their calls.
The moment you pick up the call, which is recorder on the hacker’s end, they will give you a multitude of excuses that will coerce you into saying the word “yes”. The most common things are that they are seeking for help of some sort, that they are from the bank, IRS or the Feds or that they are a representative of your Telco company. Once they have the word “yes”, they already have full access to your funds.
#3 Devious Robocalls
Plenty a time, someone has picked up a call and at the other end, there is a recorded voice message, a robot, if you will, that answers them. As weird as that is, it can also be quite dangerous, when you see it from an identity and personal data safety perspective. Believe it or not, such robocalls can also effortlessly steal your personal details in no time.
These calls are likened to phishing but just for phone calls. The calls usually come in, with the robocall recording claiming to be, most commonly, the IRS or an online store, like Amazon or e-Bay. To most people, this would seem somewhat believable and they will begin providing general order details and finally, banking details for “confirmation” by the system.
The scammer would then take this information and give your bank a call, pretending to be you, asking for an update on your bank balance, as well as any details of other investments that you may have made. If the amount is to their satisfaction, they will begin to arrange for your funds to be transferred to an offshore account, never to be seen again.
Unknown calls are definitely something to be worried about. Always refrain from answering calls with a different country code or calls from numbers that have never seen or have saved onto your phone. Also, be careful with your affirmative “yes”. Replace “yes” with different forms of confirmation and acknowledgement like “that is correct” or “I can confirm so” to reduce your chances of being a scam victim. Want to know the identity behind that annoying unknown number? Our phone lookup search can help.