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How to avoid phone scams and fraud in an internet era

30 May, 2019
Internet fraud and phone scams are unfortunately on the increase and becoming more and more sophisticated. There are many different types of fraud that you may be exposed to by using landlines, smartphones and the internet, and it’s important to know what to look out for.

Common types of scams

Phone calls - Fraudsters may call you and impersonate well-known organisations to try and gain your personal information, common topics include PPI refunds and accident claims. HMRC said it received 60,000 reports of phone scams in just 6 months up to January 2019, an increase of 360% when compared with the previous 6 months.
Missed calls – You have a missed call from a number you don’t recognise. If you call it back you may be redirected to a premium rate service which is very expensive.
Recorded messages – You have a voicemail telling you that you’ve won a prize, and giving you another number to call to ‘claim’ it, but this second number may be a premium rate one.
Text messages - You’re sent a text from a number you don’t recognise, but it’ll be worded as if it’s from a friend. For instance: ‘Hi, it’s John. I’m back! When do you want to catch up?’ So, you call it back, only to be charged for a premium rate call.
Land lines - Businesses need to be vigilant regarding land line fraud where their switchboard (PBX) could be hacked via an unsecured port, allowing the hacker to make calls at their expense, often resulting in high international call charges.
Broadband and internet - There are too many forms of internet-based fraud to list so please exercise caution and never allow anyone to access your computer. One of the most common types of internet fraud are spam e-mails, sent out to millions of email addresses to try to gain personal information.

Our Advice

If you get a text or call from a number you don’t know, don’t respond or click on any links, even if it looks like it’s from a company you know. Most companies never make contact via texts and calls, and fraudsters can make websites that look legitimate with the intent for you to enter personal data. Always check company websites directly for their real contact information. We recommend you register with The Telephone Preference Service (TPS). This is a free service which opts you out of unsolicited sales calls.
Always stay up to date with technology, as fraud evolves so do manufacturers who constantly update features built to protect against attacks.
Don’t open attachments, click on links or respond to e-mails from people you don’t recognise – and if you do recognise the person’s name, check their email address is correct.
Whilst browsing the internet, watch what you click on! Be careful of pop-up ads, buttons, and other promotions, especially on a smartphone. Always read the T’s & C’s, as sometimes when you use the internet or an app, certain features will incur additional charges.

GDPR and Security Risk

Mobiles phones and smart devices are now capable of holding a lot of your personal and business information, such as access to your emails, company data, mobile banking, company apps etc. It’s more important than ever to know how to keep this data secure. Businesses should invest in Mobile Device Management (MDM), which securely manages your mobile fleet and ensures that you comply with new GDPR requirements.
Being more aware of security vulnerabilities, actively bolstering your security settings, and becoming familiar with the kind of scams that are circulating will all decrease your chances of becoming a victim.

If you have any concerns or would like any further information on Mobile Device Management please contact the AF telecoms team on 01603 881909.
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If you have any queries or would like to find out more please get in touch. 01603 881881Honingham Thorpe, Colton, Norwich, Norfolk NR9 5BZ
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