Phishing -- Phone Calls

Last week we started this four-part article on phishing by looking at phishing by email. This week we look at phishing by phone calls.

2) Phone calls. Phone calls can be a bit tricky; but overall, there are just a couple of things you need to look out for to avoiding getting hooked by a scammer on the phone. First, in general, you should only answer phone numbers you recognize and trust. However, if for some reason you do decide to answer an unknown number, keep your guard up and listen carefully to what the person on the other side of the line is saying. Typically, if it is a scam, the scammer will be trying to sell you anything from insurance or a free vacation. Or the scammer may be trying to scare you into action by stating that your car or home insurance is debunked and that you need to do whatever they tell you to do in order to fix whatever problem they concoct. Lately, we have noticed an uptick in calls by people claiming they are calling on behalf of Microsoft technical support to help users fix issues with their computers — these kinds of calls are always scams.

Never ever give your personal information over the phone unless it is to someone you completely trust; and even then, it might be a good idea to use some other method of transferring that information. Remember, calls offering you anything free should be regarded as scams. Calls that begin along the lines of “Congratulations, you’ve won…” come with so many stipulations that by the end of the call, you will have given up all your information and will undoubtedly never get whatever vacation or item the caller claimed to want to give you. Therefore, if an unknown caller begins by saying you've won something free, either immediately hang up or state clearly that you do not want what they are selling and that you want your number removed from the call list.

Next week we will look at phishing by social media.

Written by Becky Pontiff, Student Technician
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See also: Phishing, Security