What are scam calls and SMs ?
Scam calls and scam SMs are fraudulent communications that attempt to steal money or personal information from you. They use misleading tactics that make you provide important information or funds to scammers.
Here are the most common practices used by scam calls and SMs:
The number calling or texting you has been faked by a scammer and appears as a genuine number which helps to gain your trust and encourage you to share your information.
Voice phishing (vishing)
A phone call using scare and emotional manipulation to trick you into sharing important information (account numbers, passwords) or giving money.
Short calls or fake missed calls that prompt you to call back a premium or an international number. If you call back, you will pay an extra-charge that benefits the scammer.
Automatically generated calls with a recorded message listing options to proceed. If you select it, you will be put in touch with the scammer.
How to spot scam calls and SMs?
There are several red flags that may help you to identify a scam:
Scammers often claim to be a business or administration that you know well and trust in (your bank, telecom service provider, social security, tax administration) and ask for your personal data.
Urgency and/or threats
Scammers often claim a matter of great urgency in order to pressure you into action without thoughtful consideration and verification. They also threaten you to stop a service or charge you if you do not act as required.
Grammar or spelling errors
Scam SMs often contain misspelled words or grammar errors which are introduced on purpose to penetrate through network spam filters.
Easy money or high discounts
An offer which is too good to be true sounds like a scam. This may be a job offer promising work-from-home at minimal time and effort and high earnings subject to purchasing costly training or equipment or an amazing offer of discounted products such as holiday packages.
Unusual payment request
Scammers may hack the social media account of your friend and ask you for help which consist of sending money usually by peer-to-peer payment systems, gift cards, Western Union, wire transfers or cryptocurrency tokens.
How to protect yourself from scams?
There are some simple actions you can take to protect yourself from scam calls and SMs.
- No not answer suspicious or unknown unexpected calls
- Do not call back missed calls unknown or unverified number
- Do not click on links in SMs from unknown or unverified number
- Do not send money
- Do not share your personal information such as passwords or PINs
- Beware of unexpected calls and SMs from unknown or suspicious numbers
- Check the number before calling back
- Lock your devices and voice mail access with secure PINs
- Use strong PINS and passwords and change them regularly
- Change default PINs and passwords on newly acquired customer equipment
- Block suspicious or unknown numbers on your mobile device
What to do if you have been a victim of a scam?
If you have been scammed you should take some actions to mitigate the damage:
Take remedy actions to overcome scam
If you paid a scammer by card, back transfer, gift card or other means, contact immediately the payment institution in question (your bank, card provider, wire transfer company etc.). Tell them it was a fraudulent action and ask them to block the translation or reverse it.
If you have shared your personal information with a scammer, change your passwords. In case of data breach, you can contact IDCARE for national identity & cyber support service.
Report a scam
You should report the scam call or SMs to the National Anti-Scam Centre here.
Beware of new scams
It is very likely that scammers will try again if you have already been scammed in the past. Be particularly cautious and aware of the latest scam practice.
Get help afterwards
Get support if you experience financial problems or psychological distress caused by scam. You can contact free financial counselors. If needed, talk to your family and friends or contact a dedicated support service of Beyond Blue or Lifeline available by phone or online chat 24/7.
Learn more about scams on the National Anti-Scam Centre scamwatch