“We’ve been trying to reach you about your car’s extended warranty!” This robocall opening line is so overused that most of us can recite it in our sleep. It’s one out of countless phone call scams (also known as vishing attempts) that plague Americans on a daily basis.
Vishing is a specific type of phishing attack that takes place via phone calls. It’s gotten so out of hand that in a 2020 study by First Orion, 18% of consumers reported getting more than three scam calls per day!
Text messaging scams (also known as smishing) are just as annoying—and potentially dangerous—as vishing. Through both methods, criminals attempt to gain access to sensitive data such as social security and credit card numbers, medical info, and more. The attacks may be targeted to a particular individual, as with spear phishing, or they may be completely random. The caller or sender often maintains a strong sense of urgency and attempts to scare their victims into acting impulsively.
Victims of both types of phone scams can find themselves in deep financial trouble. While some scams focus on small-time rewards such as gift cards, that doesn’t mean you should take these attacks lightly. After all, some people have reported losing their life savings to criminals who use these methods. However, you don’t have to sit by and let the bad guys win. By learning to identify common phone scam tactics, you’ll know exactly how to stop car warranty calls and block annoying spam text chains the next time you’re targeted!
What’s the deal with smishing and text messaging scams and the FCC?
On June 30, 2022, the American people won a huge victory against spam calls thanks to the FCC. The caller ID technology known as STIR and SHAKEN will soon be mandatory for small phone companies as well as large ones. While large companies implemented this caller ID authentication technology last year, smaller ones were allowed to fall under the radar. Scammers took advantage of this and relied on small companies for their vishing and smishing schemes. But now, the loophole is finally closed. So if you’re still being bombarded by robocalls and text messaging scams, things will hopefully start looking up soon.
How can I reduce the number of robocalls and spam text messages I receive?
Despite these major changes, it will take some time for providers to implement these filtering applications—and some unwanted communications will inevitably slip through the cracks. If you’re still receiving an unusual number of unsolicited calls and messages, consider switching to one of the many providers that offer call blocking and labelling services.
If you’re using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) tech at your organization and still receiving unwanted phone calls, you can also invest in a scanning system for known scam phone numbers. And with Quantum Fiber’s awesome speeds of up to 940 Mbps, you won’t have to worry about your new tools staying up to speed! (Speed may not be available in your area.)
Also, be sure to manually block any suspicious or spoofed numbers on your cell phone right away. Many phones now allow you to do this from their default setting menus.
What if I accidentally answer a spam call or open a smishing text?
No matter how well-informed you are, the odds are you’ll probably answer a spam call or open a smishing text sooner or later. If you do, don’t panic.
In the case of calls, you should:
- Hang up immediately and block the scammer’s number.
- Do not engage with the caller or provide them with any personal information.
- Report the call to the FTC.
When text messaging scams come knocking, be sure to:
- Never open the message (if possible).
- If you’ve already opened the message, don’t click any links.
- Do not reply and block the sender immediately.
- Let the FTC know about the smishing attempt.
If it’s too late and you’ve already fallen victim to a phone scam, you can report the crime here. Additionally (especially if you’re using VoIP on a computer), make sure your device wasn’t infected with any nefarious software.
Leave your smishing and vishing worries behind with Quantum Fiber
Whether you’re worried about getting scammed or you just want to learn how to stop car warranty calls for good, Quantum Fiber has you covered. By keeping an eye out for all the obvious signs of phone scams, and following all the above tips, you’ll be able to leave your phishing and vishing fears in the dust. And if you’re looking for more cybersecurity tips for working at home or living life on the go, all you need to do is head over to our blog!