Telephone scams are on the rise and affect more and more people, with a predominance of the most vulnerable groups (minors or the elderly). Phone scams take different forms: voice spam, SMS spam, false call from a hotline, etc., and may stress you out big time. In this article, you will learn more about those tricks and how to protect yourself.
What are the different types of phone scams?
A phone scam aims to deceive you by calling or texting you to get money. The most common methods are :
- Voice spam
The principle is simple: you receive a call from a specific number, and when you answer the phone, it is immediately interrupted. The goal is to encourage you to call back. In such a case, you will have to pay a lot of money because the phone number is overtaxed. We are talking about the value-added service numbers (VAS). The longer you stay on the line, the higher the bill.
- SMS spam
A message warns you that you are the lucky winner of a game, a trip, or another prize. But to get this fictitious gain, you have to call back the surcharged number or answer the surcharged SMS.
- Telephone harassment
This aggressive commercial practice forces you to buy a random product or service.
- Fake hotline call
A fraudster pretends to be an employee of a hotline. Under false pretences, this person asks you for confidential data, such as your credit card number. Hang up immediately! Unless you use a secure protocol, an administration or a large company will never ask you for this information by phone.
How to protect yourself with phone number tracking tools
Of course, nobody can guarantee you will find all the information you want about the suspicious caller. But, there are proven methods that may help you make things clear and feel more secure:
- Use Google
If you want something simple, that doesn’t need any investment from you, then this is your perfect method. Just Google the suspicious number, and there’s a chance you will find precisely what you’re looking for. Yet, it would help if you kept in mind that not all the best things in life are free. While being an attractive option, Google search has limited results.
- Try searching on social media
Many profiles on Linkedin or Facebook have mobile numbers linked to them so that you may find a little background of a caller using social media. Same as with Google, there’s no vast database, so you may get disappointed.
- Reverse lookup sites
Some sites specialize in reverse lookup of phone numbers. It is a service that groups all the public numbers it has managed to find in a database. When you type a phone number, you will find the phone owner immediately. This service is often free and fast. It is a kind of free reverse directory. If you come across a good site, these files will be up-to-date, and you will have an opportunity to learn everything about the caller.
- Suspicious phone number lookup free of charge
Today, many services can provide you with unlimited reports on any number that’s been disturbing you. These reports may include a caller’s address, criminal record, age, and even their profile on Facebook. Truthfinder and Intelius are among the most popular options with moderate pricing starting from $4.99 and $6.95 per basic plan. If you don’t want to deal with telephone scams, it is advisable to be vigilant. We’ve given you a bit of simple advice you should follow to avoid being easy prey. But beware, scammers adapt their techniques to thwart your vigilance. If you have become a victim of a fraudster, you can report it to the authorities and file a complaint.