SMARTPHONE owners have been warned by the US government over scam phone calls that can empty their bank accounts.
Every year, thousands of people fall victim to spoofers and robocall scams.
The phone call attacks have cost Americans billions of dollars, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said.
Nearly 4 billion robocalls targeted US consumers per month in 2020, according to the FCC.
In fact, scams of this nature are the FCC’s top consumer complaint and top consumer protection priority.
“Advancements in technology make it cheap and easy to make massive numbers of robocalls,” officials said in a statement.
WHAT IS A ROBOCALL?
A robocall is a phone call that delivers a prerecorded message to the recipient.
They are often used by bad actors to hook unsuspecting victims into revealing sensitive information.
Sometimes scammers use a method called spoofing to manipulate your caller ID so it indicates that a call is actually from a reputable company.
Once sensitive information is obtained, hackers can use it to access your banking accounts or other personal data.
HOW TO STAY SAFE
To stay safe the FCC has outlined some warning signs and tips for all smartphone owners.
First, the government agency advises to never answer calls from unknown numbers.
“You may not be able to tell right away if an incoming call is spoofed,” the FCC said. “Be aware: Caller ID showing a ‘local’ number does not necessarily mean it is a local caller.”
If you do answer the phone and the caller asks you to press a button to stop getting the calls, it’s best to just hang up.
It’s imperative that you do not answer any questions, especially those that can be answered with “Yes.”
“Never give out personal information such as account numbers, Social Security numbers, mother’s maiden names, passwords or other identifying information in response to unexpected calls or if you are at all suspicious,” the FCC added.
Sometimes scammers will call you and pretend to be the government or authorities and pressure you into paying money.
Hang up if anyone is pressuring you to pay anything over the phone immediately.
“Talk to your phone company about call-blocking tools they may have and check into apps that you can download to your mobile device to block unwanted calls,” the FCC added.