How To Avoid Falling For Phone Scams
If you own a phone, you’ve either been scammed, or someone has tried to scam you.
And the numbers say it’s likely someone has tried to scam you via your phone multiple times: According to www.aarp.org, scam artists sent almost 88 billion texts and made over 72 billion phone calls in 2021.
These criminals know if they can get you to click on a legitimate-looking link, sent by email or text, they’ll have a great chance of obtaining either your bank account or credit card number. Instead of sending you a link, they might also just call you and try to fool you by impersonating a sales agent.
Once they get this information, they either drain your bank account, or go on an online shopping spree with your credit card.
This is a pretty scary scenario, but there is one easy way to greatly reduce the odds that you ever fall for a scam while using your phone: ignore any phone call or text when you don’t recognize the caller/sender.
I know it can be very difficult to ignore that phone call from the Unknown Caller, because what if it’s important?
Maybe they’re calling to tell you your won the lottery! Or maybe it’s your college roommate from 35 years ago, wanting to reconnect! Or maybe it’s a recruiter who will offer you your dream job! Or maybe…..
The odds are incredibly high that it will never be one of those situations, that it will instead, actually be someone who wants to steal your money.
So, the next time you get a call from a number you don’t recognize, just don’t answer it.
Texts are a little different, because you don’t choose to answer them, they just show up all of a sudden.
There’s one really useful little trick you can use to make sure you don’t fall for any scams sent by text, though: tell your phone to block all communication with unknown and private numbers.
This means that your phone will only accept a phone call or text message from someone in your contact list.
It’s pretty easy to set this up on your phone.
This process may vary slightly depending on the phone you have, but for my Galaxy A32 5G, first I open the phone app. Then I click on the three dots in the upper right-hand corner. Next, I click on settings. Then I select “block numbers”.
The next screen has the option “block unknown/private numbers”. I can toggle this setting to be on or off. If I turn it on, I won’t receive any more phone calls or texts from any unknown individual.
My phone uses the Android operating system, but the process should be somewhat similar for iPhones.
It’s important to realize if you choose this setting, you will only receive phone calls and texts from phone numbers in your contact list. If Aunt Suzy isn’t in your contacts, it will block her too.
So, you’ll want to spend some time adding all important numbers to your contact list. Make sure you’ve got all your friends and family’s numbers of course, but also your child’s school, your doctor’s office, pharmacy, workplace, and maybe even your hospital’s.
Once you’ve done this, not only will your day not be interrupted anymore with spam and scam calls and texts, your risk of falling prey to a scam on your phone will fall to near zero.
After all, there’s no way you can click on a questionable link if you never get the text message with the link in the first place, since it’s been blocked.
And there’s no chance of you getting fooled into giving your bank account information to a crook over the phone if your phone blocks his call before it even rings.
If you’re the slightest bit worried or concerned about getting your money stolen over the phone, go ahead and block all unknown callers on your phone.
You might worry about missing a call from someone who’s ready to award you the grand prize from some contest, but most likely, you’ll just miss out on having your money stolen from you.