Phone Security

Do Scammers Target Seniors?

Feb 22, 2019 |

Senior citizens fall victim to scams

 

Scammers target senior citizens every day and the numbers are rising. Scammers target the elderly. Elders have financial stability, vulnerability, and tendency to act on emotion. Seniors are also less tech savvy. Scammers know seniors are less likely to use tools to avoid scams via phone, email and direct mail. Criminals use scams that play on their emotions, including fear. One report showed that, in 2011, seniors were robbed of nearly $2.9 billion dollars. People who robbed seniors are strangers (51%), family, friends, and neighbors (34%), fake businesses (12%), and scams on Medicare/ Medicaid (4%).

Phone Scams

Consumer groups have created guides on  reporting scam phone calls. A popular scam is one by fake IRS reps. The fake rep claims that the senior has back taxes owed to the government. The calls scare people into giving out bank information or face jail time. Seniors targeted by phony IRS representatives should report the activity to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. Victims can report online or call 1-800-366-4484.

People should report other scam calls to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Secondly, reporting phone scams to local police and the Attorney General’s office is important.

Seniors can also use an iPhone caller ID app to screen calls and help to prevent scams.

Romance Scams

Fake suitors target people over 50 for romance scams. The percentage of people looking for online romance is the highest in this age range. Scammers claim their love for their victims almost immediately, and then ask for money. They are not available to meet in person and are usually suffering some form of emergency or personal tragedy. If this happens to you, refuse to send any money and report them to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

Mail Scams

Scammers can trick seniors by using direct mail or “junk mail” scams. Lottery and sweepstakes contests are popular scams. Consumer groups have developed several websites devoted to reducing or eliminating direct mail. The AARP has a list of companies that can help.  Others include:

CatalogChoice helps you to opt-out of getting specific catalogs in the mail.

DMAchoice is a website that helps to manage your mail received at home.

OptOutPrescreen can help you to opt-out of getting credit card offers in the mail.

SeniorNet is a non-profit organization that educates seniors on computers. They have also created a guide on how to detect mail fraud.

If you suspect that an offer received in the mail is too good to be true, call the company who sent the offer for more information.

Phone Security Basics

Jan 22, 2019 |

Security apps help to keep phones safe

Cell phone users are inundated with detailed articles about cell phone security. Techies provide complicated methods to protect against hackers. What about the less savvy? I’ve prepared for you some tips to protect your phone.

Keep Tabs on Your Phone

Millions of people lose their phones every year, with most of them being stolen. In 2014, 2.1 million cell phones were reported stolen. The person who finds your phone can access your information, including name, address, and account information on everything from your bank to Instagram. When you are out in public, keep your phone accessible but out of the way of thieves and pickpockets.

Lock Your Phone

Use a screen lock for your phone. Choices include fingerprint ID, password, pattern lock, PIN, and facial recognition. If your phone is lost or stolen, the person trying to get into your phone will have a much harder time if it’s protected.

Use a Tracking App

Tracking apps are used by users for various reasons including locating family members, especially children. However, they are also important if your phone goes missing. There are many apps that will allow you to do both. Be sure to test it before you need it to find a lost phone.

Avoid Free Wi-Fi

Free Wi-Fi is tempting to users addicted to their phones. However, the services are not secure and can leave you vulnerable to users waiting to steal your information. If you need to use free Wi-Fi, limit what you use while connected to the service. Avoid logging in to any important accounts such as your bank or credit card. When you are finished with whatever you’re doing, log off. Cafes and airports offer Wi-Fi that is generally safe, but take precautions all the same. Never log in to an unknown open network.

Do Not Click That Link

Random texts asking you to click on a link are always suspect. They can allow hackers to access your information or install viruses or malware on your phone. If you receive a random text (too often with a “too good to be true” offer), do not reply. Delete it immediately. You can also use an app to trace unknown callers on your iPhone.

Teach Your Kids Phone Safety

Kids use cell phones more than grown-ups and should be aware of how to protect their phones – and themselves. Teach phone safety as soon as your child gets his first phone.

Update Your Apps

Many phones are equipped with apps to prevent viruses and the installation of spyware and malware. As a result, many users feel safe and forget that the apps need to be updated on a regular basis. New software is released every day, and an outdated phone may not be able to detect and prevent hacking and viruses. Phone updates should be routinely installed to ensure that bugs have been fixed and protections are engaged.

Following these simple tips will help users to stay safe and enjoy their phones as they were meant to be enjoyed.

Social Security Administration Warns Against Scams

Dec 16, 2018 |

rSocial Security Scam

The Social Security Administration (SSA) reports a dramatic increase in phone scams. Senior citizens are targets for scammers claiming to be from the SSA. The reason for the call? To tell the senior his/her Social Security number has been suspended. The caller states there has been fraudulent or criminal activity with the card. The number is suspended to protect the real card holder.

“They say to call a number to clear it up — where they’ll ask you for personal information,” according to the Federal Trade Commission. “The caller pretends to be protecting you from a scam while he’s trying to lure you into one.”

The SSA does not suspend Social Security numbers. Not for any reason. There is no cost to reinstate it. Despite the caller’s claims, it’s a scam.

If you receive a call from an alleged SSA representative, use a free reverse phone book app for iPhone to verify the number. Some scammers spoof the SSA’s customer service number — 1-800-772-1213 — to take the scam a step further.

SSA Warns Citizens

“Unfortunately, scammers will try anything to mislead and harm innocent people, including scaring them into thinking that something is wrong with their Social Security account and they might be arrested,” said Acting Inspector General of Social Security, Gale Stallworth Stone.  “I encourage everyone to remain watchful of these schemes and to alert family members and friends of their prevalence.  We will continue to track these scams and warn citizens so that they can stay several steps ahead of these thieves.”

Protect Yourself

  • The SSA rarely, if ever, calls people on the phone. They communicate by mail.
  • Be aware that the SSA will not make threats.
  • Do not give them your bank account number.
  • Don’t give out your Social Security number.
  • Ignore demands from automated calls.
  • Never give or confirm information.
  • Don’t assume the call, text, or email is legitimate. Again, contact people by mail.
  • Check all phone numbers using an iPhone reverse cell search app.
  • Do not engage the person on the phone.

Staying Safe

  • Block phone numbers you suspect to be fake.
  • Contact government agencies directly in person, through verified phone numbers, or through their website.
  • Contact government agencies directly, using telephone numbers and website addresses you know to be legitimate.

If someone has tried to steal your personal information by pretending to be from the government, report it to the FTC. Also, report suspicious calls to the SSA’s Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-269-0271 or online.

How to Protect Your Information

Dec 16, 2017 |

With more and more data breaches happening every year millions of Americans information was put at risk. You need to be on high alert for potential phishing scams. We’ll go over the best ways to protect yourself.

Monitor Your Credit Scores

Make an effort to check your credit scores every so often, doing so will allow you catch any sort of funny activity. If your credit score quickly changes, you can be sure that someone has most likely gotten ahold of your information and has been using your identity.

Be On Alert for Phishing Scams

Phishing scams are how scammers fill in the blanks when they have pieces of information about you. In the form of phone calls or emails, phishing scams will try to trick you into think they are coming from reputable companies, like PayPal or your bank.

The best way to protect yourself from these types of scams is to avoid unsolicited calls and hang up on callers that are asking for important and sensitive financial information. Use a iPhone caller ID to help you filter out unwanted phone calls. With emails, be sure to check for spelling mistakes and take a close look at the links included.

Additionally, avoid opening any files attached to emails that aren’t from trusted contacts. Files could potentially infect your device with hazardous malware.

Use Stronger Passwords

Passwords these days for your online accounts need to be strong and unique. This can be really difficult though. One thing that is recommended is using a sentence for a password, but this can get complicated and annoying if you frequently need to change it.

The best thing to do is use a password vault. There are many to choose from, one good one is LastPass. With LastPass you can generate and store strong and unique passwords for each of your online accounts. You can even share access to some of your accounts.

 

Kidnapping Phone Scam: How To Protect Your Family

Oct 31, 2017 |

You might think that phone scams aren’t something you need to worry about. Yes, you may have received weird calls in the past, but you’d never fall for any of them. There’s the IRS scam and free giveaway scams, but it’s pretty evident to you that these are scams. What if you got a different type of call though, one where someone claimed to have kidnapped your loved one. What would you do? The kidnapping phone scam is the latest (and scariest) phone scam happening in the United States.

What Is The Kidnapping Phone Scam?

The kidnapping phone scam targets families. In this scam you will get a call from someone claiming to have your loved one, usually a son or daughter. You may hear screaming in the background and the caller may know personal information like family members’ names and the area that you live in, all this makes their call more believable.

The caller will demand you wire them money immediately, or your family member will be injured or even worse killed. This is all designed to make you panic.

The caller will often get the information on you and your family from social media.

Protecting Yourself From This Scam

The best way to protect yourself from this frightening scam is to keep your social media accounts private and only share information with people you know and trust online. Refrain from publishing posts that divulge a lot of information publicly.

Another thing that you can do to protect yourself is keep a cool head, although this is very difficult to do.

  • Ask the caller personal questions about the person that the person they say they have would only know.
  • Try to get in touch with the person they say they have. While on the phone with the caller try to text the person they say they have or get someone else to call the person that they claim is kidnapped.
  • Contact the police. Though the caller will tell you not to contact authorities, be sure to contact them.

If you ever get a call like this be sure to call your local authorities immediately. You can also filter your calls that you receive by running them through a white pages iPhone app. These apps will help you see if there are any phone scams associated with a certain phone number. There are many option in the App Store and in Google Play so give a few a try!

The Most Creative and Common Phone Scams

Sep 19, 2017 |

If you have a phone number then you’ve definitely probably been targeted by a phone scammer. These annoying and potentially dangerous callers seek to steal your information and money. We’ll go over the most common and creative phone scams in the U.S. and how you can stop them. We’ll discuss the Do Not Call Registry and how reverse phone lookup apps can put a stop to these criminals.

IRS Phone Scam

The most common phone scam in the United States is the IRS scam. This scam targets all Americans and in it a caller claims to be an IRS agent and accuses their victim of owing taxes. The scammer will say that if the victim doesn’t pay, they’ll send police to arrest them.

This is a total scam, but it has a lot of success because many Americans are actually late in paying their taxes each year or may believe that they owe money. What’s important to remember is that you will always receive a registered letter from the IRS telling you that you owe money and you always have the right to dispute it.

Charity Phone Scam

Charity phone scams are annoying in that it’s difficult to tell whether or not the call is actually a scam. What is true though is that the telemarketing companies that charities use to fundraise will often take a cut of the donation as part of their fee. For this reason, it’s always best to donate directly to the charity of your choosing and check it first to make sure it’s reputable.

Free Giveaway Phone Scam

A lot of times these types of scams target the elderly, but they can really target anyone. Calls will promise anything from free Caribbean cruises to gift cards at major retailers. They can also offer free medical alert systems, cars, and even money. The one thing that all of these calls have in common is that they are a scam and want to get your information. It’s best to just ignore calls like these.

Ways To Avoid These Scams

The first thing you should do is make sure that your phone number is on the National Do Not Call Registry. After you’ve done this, make sure you report any unwanted and suspicious calls to the proper authorities. The majority of phone scams can be reported to the FTC. IRS calls should be reported to TIGTA.

Download A Reverse Phone Lookup App

Another way to start avoiding calls like this is to download a iPhone caller ID app.  Apps like this will help you decide what calls are worth picking up. The less you answer scammer phone calls and interact with them, the less they will target you.

How to Stop “Can Your Hear Me?” Scams

Jun 27, 2017 |

Months ago, warnings about the “Can you hear me?” scam were released by the FCC. Scammers will call victims will call victims and ask them questions like “Can you hear me?”, “Do you own a house?”, etc. Once the victim answers “yes” the scammer will hang up. Unbeknownst to the call recipient the phone conversation has been recorded and their “yes” response will be used to sign them up for unwanted services. Read on to learn more about the scam and how you can stop it with unknown number lookups apps.

iPhone cell phone trace app

The Scam

Your phone rings, you pick it up and the caller asks “Can you hear me?”. You reply “yes” and the caller then hangs up. Seems strange right? It’s possible that you’ve just been scammed. It’s been reported that the caller will then use the recordings of you saying yes to gain access to credit card information and charge you for fraudulent services that you never agreed to. They will play back your affirmative answers as proof that you agreed to the purchases.

Additionally, this could also be a way for scammers to find active phone numbers. Once you’ve interacted with the call they’ll then call you more and in attempts to scam you in other ways.

The website Snopes found no actual money being reported as lost in this type of scam, but it’s still important to be alert to the possibility.

How to Protect Yourself With Unknown Number Lookups Apps

If you receive a call like this where you are being asked questions by an unknown caller just hang up. You can help protect yourself by using iPhone cell phone trace app to identify mysterious phone calls. Instead of answering calls from numbers that you don’t know allow them to go to voicemail. Then check your voicemail to see who it was.

If no voicemail was left, chances are that the call was a spam one. By not answering you’ve avoided scammers and shown them that your number is a dead end. Hopefully, over time they’ll stop calling so much.

If you feel that you’ve been a victim of the “Can you hear me?” scam, you should report it to the FCC.

How To Trace A Phone Number On Your iPhone

Feb 5, 2015 |

Want to learn how to trace a phone number on your iPhone? Every now and then, you will receive a call from a strange number. Is it from your ex who is stalking you and has totally refused to budge? Or is it the debt collector who has been trying to relentlessly make you pay up? Or on a lighter note, is it from the potential employer? Or the nice looking stranger you met at the bar? Well, whatever the case, you always want to be sure before you pick up the phone. And the only way you can comfortably answer the strange call is through a service that allows you to trace unknown callers on your iPhone.trace unknown callers on your iPhone

Are There Discreet Lookup Services?

As a matter of fact there is. Many apps allow you to get information on strange calls coming through your iPhone without disclosing your location or requiring any personal information from you. In a matter of minutes, you will know the origin of the call before answering it. This saves you the trouble of having to put-up with the annoying caller, or missing out on a job opening simply because you didn’t pick up the call from the interviewer. Also, you don’t have to spend time and effort trying to Google the phone number.

These services also allow you to block any calls from a person you don’t want to speak to. Furthermore, it lets you share the same information with other people who may be contacted by the unwanted caller. It is easily accessible via your iPhone. In a matter of minutes, you will be able to trace a call and choose whether to answer or block the caller.

Stop Annoying Callers, Spammers, And Scammers In Their Tracks

Jan 17, 2015 |

Do you want to stop annoying calls and texts from your iPhone? Your answer would obviously be yes. Well, you can with a caller ID app. The problem however is that 90% of these caller ID apps are worthless. Some are paid apps, others are free and many are a simple waste of valuable space on your iPhone.iPhone app to figure out the owner of a phone number

The First Step

Most people due to the rising amount of pranksters, spammers, and irritating sales people simply do not answer a call if it is an unknown number. This is where a caller ID app will help you out. All you need to do is search “caller ID” in the App Store. Many caller ID apps are free to download and then have in-app purchase options. It’s best to go with one of these as you shouldn’t pay up front for these apps.

Will It Stop Annoying Callers?

The latest iPhone app to figure out the owner of a phone number examined and worth recommending is CallerSmart. Apart from the fact that this reverse lookup app works, all users have the ability to have fun and join in the community phone book.

The developers have created a Hall of Shame for spammers and scammers. Users simply enter the number that called them and leave the details they choose to. Other users are then warned against that specific numbers.

You can receive rewards in the form of smart badges, you unlock new ones by participating. You can share these badges with friends on social platforms, such as Facebook.

The larger the growth of users the more numbers that are identified and blocked. The only downside of this free app is the fact that it is only available for iPhone platforms.

Identify Unknown Numbers Quickly For Free

Jan 16, 2015 |

What if I told you that there’s a way to identify unknown numbers? Learn more below:

Background

Receiving a call from an unknown number is always unsettling. In most cases, you are not sure how to respond to the call because the caller on the other end has the advantage of surprise over you. Although it may be a friendly call, it may also be a serious call from a potential employer if you had applied for a job somewhere.free phone trace on iPhone

In some cases, the call may be from a person you do not wish to talk to who has been giving you a hard time. The fact is that you should always be in a position to know who is calling you so that you can prepare yourself mentally on how to handle the call. Since you must have faced this scenario before, you must have wondered if there is a solution that will allow you to identify unknown callers even if they call with a number that you have not saved on your phone.

Identify Unknown Callers

You can now remove this uncertainty by using a number verification service. Once you receive a call from an unidentified number, you simply go to the app and type the number on the search bar to find out the caller’s name and also where they are calling from. Identifying the caller gives you a chance to add them to your phone book or call them back to discuss the matter you think they were calling you about.

If you’re like me who enjoys a free phone trace on iPhone,  and loves to identify unknown numbers you will love this service because of the freedom it gives you. Being a community oriented service, you will be able to leave community feedback that is helpful to others when they need to search the same number.

What Is Community Feedback?

This particular feedback helps you and other members of the community blacklist certain numbers that call for sales, prank, or scam purposes. In the event you decide to block a number permanently, this service allows you to do so. You can then rest easy knowing that you will never hear from the blacklisted number ever again. If you need more information on the caller, you may request a premium report that gives you more details.