Beware! There's a new level of phone fraud taking place. What would you do if you showed up for work and by 9:30 a.m. your cell phone rang between 100-150 times? Many go to voicemail but you answer some of the calls in an attempt to determine what is going on. After all, you are at work and you need to attend to tasks. You realize you have 25 voicemail messages. People from all over the United States are calling your phone. They are leaving angry messages demanding to know why you continue to call them. You have no idea what could be happening. You have never called any of them.
Trying to ignore the calls is not working. Also, you cannot focus at work with your phone blowing up nonstop. With your supervisor's permission, you go to the cell phone carrier store to try to put a stop to the madness. The cell phone carrier employee states that it sounds like your phone number has been spoofed and the only solution they can provide is to change your phone number. You've had the same phone number for over twenty years and have business contacts that you do not want to lose. Furthermore, there's no way you want to have to tell everyone in your contact list that you are changing phone numbers.
Doing a little research on your own, you call the Federal Communications Commission. However, the FCC recommends to keep your phone number. After all, they could hack a new number. FCC advises to change your voicemail to state that you have been hacked by someone and to inform any callers to block this number. The calls immediately slow down and eventually stop after a couple days.
Why Are They Calling?
How did the telemarketer hack your information? What is the motive behind this? The telemarketer spoofs a phone number from your region to attempt to get someone to answer their call rather than letting their actual number from a far location show up on the caller ID. Consider the repercussions of this type of phone fraud taking place on a company cell phone. Businesses spend years, even decades building their reputations, but a scam of this nature could destroy that in no time at all. Even if the company was not responsible for the incident, there would be a negative association and consequences as a result. Consumers certainly would question the company's security. After all, if they fell victim to phone fraud, how secure could they really be?
There's a variety of phone scams that take place and depending on the scenario, the hacker might be after different types of information. Some types of phone fraud are delivered in the form of robocalls or robotexts. However, not every robocall or robotext is illegal. Another time to be cautious of fraud calls is tax season. Many attackers take advantage of this time to pose as government workers. They will demand urgent action and attempt to scare the caller into giving away banking account numbers.
Don't Fall Victim
How can you protect your company's phone security? Communicate with your employees and inform them of some best practices to follow.
- Set up a password to check voice mail.
- Be skeptical of calls sounding urgent for your information.
- If the caller claims to be representing an agency, hang up and check the phone number on the agency website to verify the authenticity of the request.
- Do not give out confidential information over the phone.
- Avoid taking calls from unknown numbers.
- Do not answer questions from unknown callers, especially questions that may be answered with a "yes."
- Research charities, business opportunities, or travel packages outside of a phone call before trusting an offer.
- Be wary of callers claiming you've won a prize/contest you never entered to win.
The best thing an organization can do is to keep talking about cybersecurity. Talk about various stories, scenarios, and what went wrong. In addition, discuss what kind of actions keep mobile phones more secure. Also, never assume that all of your employees already know what the best security measures are. With attackers coming from multiple angles, companies must stay proactive with security. Security Awareness Training Courses with turnkey implementation are convenient and can help give your organization the peace of mind that every employee has been educated on the required topics. Investing in security now is much more cost effective than paying to clean up after an attack.
Written by Michelle Stamps
Michelle has over 10 years of experience in marketing and business development across various industries including government and non-profit. Her background in writing, facilitating presentations and event planning allows her to use her creative skill-set and her relationship building skills strengthens her ability to understand the human element role in cybersecurity and to support positive behavior change. Whether she is out in the community, blogging or developing the next social post for TechGuard, she believes in telling the company’s story and uses relatable, real-life examples to connect with our clients. If you know Michelle outside of work, you would know that she loves sunny days and tropical places.