Spammy or fraudulent phone calls are not a new problem, but they have invaded our cell phones relatively recently. Telemarketing first came to prominence in the 1970s, as organizations looked for inexpensive ways to connect quickly with a broad swath of their population. More recent innovations include switching systems that allow legitimate organizations and spammers to mask their phone number, a critical step to getting their phone calls through in the era of caller ID and other digital detection devices.
Phone Number Spoofing
Today’s consumers are reluctant to answer phone calls from individuals outside their geographic vicinity or from a toll-free number, as these often turn out to be unwanted spam or sales calls. To bypass this tendency, unscrupulous organizations have turned to digital means to carry out their mass communication exploits. One way that spammers attempt to get someone to answer their phone (and by doing so, validate their phone number!) is by masking the true number they’re calling from and tricking your cell phone into displaying a number that is quite similar to your personal cell phone number.
For instance, if your cell phone number is 410-555-1234, you may begin receiving spam phone calls from 410-555-3456. The number is close enough to your own that you might think it’s a friend or family member — but in reality, it’s just a spammer playing psychological tricks in an effort to get you to answer their call. Once your phone number has been validated once, it’s sold online, so you’ll continue to receive these annoying robotic calls.
Spam is annoying, but did you know that it can actually be dangerous to your personal and financial security as well? Answering these phone calls can result in enormous charges added to your cell phone bill, or even the loss of personal information if you make the mistake of verifying contact data with these individuals. Robocalls are another huge problem, as these robotic messages can request you to interact with their systems by selecting items from a menu or entering your personal or professional details. Some of the ways that people try to trap you could include:
- Fake calls from the IRS, letting you know that you’re in default
- Unidentified individuals, stating that they are bringing criminal charges against you
Unfortunately, by answering these calls and providing any information, you’re simply giving the spammers more ammunition to use against you in the future. Your Baltimore IT services company can share additional ways that hackers can utilize your corporate cell phones as an entry point to your network.
One of the most effective ways to eliminate these calls is by installing a call-blocking app. The Mr. Number app has a free version that will block the majority of fraudulent phone calls — protecting your personal information and your sanity from cybercriminals. While there is a paid version available that includes additional filters, the free version is sufficient to help you regain a significant amount of control over your personal electronics devices. The app, which is available on Apple and Android platforms, allows you to whitelist your current contacts, too.