A common type of fraud is scammers spoofing a number to trick you into thinking you are dealing with a legitimate call. For instance, some victims have received calls from what appear to be a bank’s fraud team. The number looks genuine and the victim is typically persuaded to transfer money from their bank account because a ‘security issue’ has been detected.
How do scammers do this and how do you recognise a spoofed call?
- Scammers typically carry out spoofing using a VoIP (Voice over IP) service or an IP phone, both of which use the internet to make phone calls.
- They use auto-dialling software to instantly connect to a phone numbers from a list of phone numbers they have acquired, usually for sale on dark web criminal forums.
- They decide what exactly you'll see on your phone's screen during the call. It can be any name or number. This is why it’s easy to be fooled into thinking the call is genuine, for instance, from your bank.
This way, scammers can contact you from anywhere of the world and make you think it's someone from your local area calling or even your bank.
- They often pose as representatives of banks, credit card companies, creditors, or government bodies to get people to reveal their account numbers and other sensitive information.
Some of the most common phone scams include:
- Technical support calls
- Bank fraud calls
- Windows tech support scam calls
- Insurance scams
- Fake charity appeals
- Tax scam calls
- Computer repair scam calls
- Investment scams
- Healthcare scams
There are some common signs that you are on a call with a scammer given that they tend to use similar tactics to pressure people into parting with money.
- If you have suspicions about a phone call, consider whether the other person called you. If you weren't the one to place the phone call, that's a major warning sign. The majority of malicious phone calls involve a scammer contacting you and posing as someone else. Their hope is that you won't double-check that they're legitimate.
- People who carry out scams on the phone want you to drop your guard and as a result they try to shock you into action with ‘dramatic’ news such as your bank account has been compromised, or you have a dangerous computer virus that can steal banking information.
- Once you’ve been spooked by their story, they might ask for your credit card information in order to purchase security software, for example, or say they need a payment to remotely repair your computer.
Another common trick is the tech support scam which involves someone calling you and pretending to be from Microsoft or another computer company. They request remote access to your computer via an app like TeamViewer and show you signs that your computer is infected.
- Often, they open up the Windows Event Viewer utility in order to do this.
- The fraudster points to the various Error and Warning entries as evidence that your computer has problems.
- If you're not an experienced computer user, you might be confused. But the fact is that most of the logs in the Windows Event Viewer are unimportant.
- Windows keeps all sorts of information about minor network mishaps, services failing to start, and other small issues. In almost all cases, your computer will correct these and you don't have to worry about it.
In general, if something seems too good to be true, then it probably is. If you receive a random phone call claiming that you've won an amazing prize, or were selected as the winner in some obscure lottery, or some other unlikely offer just hang up. This is a major sign that you're on a scam call.
If someone asks you to confirm your personal information it’s easy to assume that they already have this information. Legitimate companies won't contact you by phone to verify this information.
If the person on the phone ever threatens to arrest you, send the police to your house, or use physical violence, don't believe them. The intimidation is a tactic to scare you into believing the scam.