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Elder Law and Estate Planning Blog - Lancaster, PA

Monday, January 14, 2013

Phone Scams: What You Should Know

With smart phones growing to be more popular, they are becoming a common target for ID theft attacks.  Here are a few things you should know to avoid any attacks.

  • Your smart phone holds a lot of data, maybe even more than you computer does.  From saved passwords, to GPS tracking data, to contact lists, all the information that is valuable to you is even more valuable to criminals.
  • Four in ten users will follow an unsafe link on a mobile deice this year, allowing a suspicious download or giving information too scammers.  If it's too good to be true, its a hoax.
         The most common scam is a text, supposedly from you bank, claiming something is wrong with your credit card.  They
         give you a number to call and ask for account information, but that number isn't going to be your bank, it'll be the bad
  • Scammers use QR codes (bar codes that direct you to a website when scanned by your phone) or shortened URLs (tinyurl and bitly) to make it even harder to identify suspicious links.
  • Be wary of texts claiming you've just won a gift card from a popular store.  Clicking on the link could install malware which then takes over your phone.  Last year, up to 120,000 phone users fell victim to Droid DreamLight, a malware concealed in up to 24 apps in the Android Market.
  • The most common scam worldwide could be on its way to the US.  Toll fraud is a malicious code that prompts your phone to order ring tones and wallpapers without your permission.  Your carrier charges you for the purchase, and the scammers collect the money.  Early detection is key, so check your phone bill for unusual charges.
  • You can fight back! If you've received unwanted messages or suspect fraud, register your complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov).  If you receive a fraudulent text, forward it to 7726 (which spells SPAM).  You can also download free anti-malware protection, but your best bet is to use your street smarts and ignore unsolicited downloads and text messages.  And if you're not sure whether a message is real, contact the sender independently before clicking through or giving away information.

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