Technology is becoming an essential part of people’s lives, helping facilitate their day-to-day activities. It has also become the arena for many malicious actors trying to inflict damage to their victims. This article will look at steps that a tech savvy person can take to improve their cellphone safety.
At the end of the article, you can also see a basic cheat-sheet for readers to increase their cyber security.
As of 2019, Android and Windows Operating systems have the highest market share throughout all platform at around 37% each (Source). Therefore, a majority of advice will be catered to these two groups. It is worth noting that some cellphone safety advice are cross-platform in nature.
Telephone and texts are often used as a conduit for fraudulent activities looking to extract data or resources from their victims. This session will look at some of the types of scams & steps that can be taken to limit its risk.
Robocalls – Automated phone calls looking to exploit a need or belief the user has for the benefit of the malicious actor. It often attempts to offer better interest rates on your loans/credit cards or anything that could be of interest to you. If a user responds in some form to the occurrence, it can either lead to loss of money, time or be utilized for future engagements.
Types of Fraud
Business – Attempts to illegally use business related functions such as billing, telemarketing, employment, tech support and others to get the victim to provide information that will financially or otherwise benefit the perpetrator at the detriment of the victim.
Financial – Uses/poses as banks, credit cards, insurance, mortgage, tax and many others to defraud the victim for financial gains. If a real financially related entity reaches out to you, it is extremely unlikely that they will request for personal information to validate a claim/request.
Government – Uses the name of government entities such as the FBI, revenue agencies and others to extract valuable information from the victims that can be used for financial gains. Most government entities will use sealed mail or agreed with methods to contact the relevant party regarding an issue. It will most often, never ask you to provide personal information to resolve the matter. If you are in doubt, reach out to the entities website and contact someone you trust for counsel.
The ‘Nigerian Prince’ scam – Is a scam that looks to get up-front money in exchange for future riches. Although the ‘Nigerian Prince’ example is well-known, this type of scam comes in variety of forms. The best course of action is to not respond to the request and close the call or delete the text.
The ‘Captured/imprisoned Family Member’ scam – A family member has been captured for ransom or has been imprisoned and now needs bailout money. At least that is the narrative the malicious actors aims to portray as it looks to abuse a sense of urgency and care to lead its victims into being defrauded. Most often, the best course of action is to gain knowledge of the circumstances the victim is meant to be in, ask questions that, in theory, only you and the captured/imprisoned victim would know. Then you should end the call and reach out to the individual via cellphone/e-mail and to closer relatives that may have a better insight on what is happening to that person’s life. This, alongside cross-checking the information provided by the assailants should help you determine whether to take further steps or not.
Do you have any questions or would like to contribute to the discussion? Leave a comment!