EXPERTS have warned smartphone users about scammers pretending to be someone else in order to steal their money.
This is known as an impersonation scam and it comes in many different shapes and sizes.
WHAT IS AN IMPERSONATION SCAM?
Impersonation scams consist of a criminal pretending to be someone you trust to convince you to send them money.
This can include a relative, a close friend, a boss, or even an official institution, like your bank.
In some cases, a scammer will pretend to be your company's technical support, a credit card corporation, or a government agency.
HOW DOES THE SCAM WORK?
Once a scammer has chosen their fake identity, they will typically reach out to urgently ask for money.
And because the request comes from someone a person thinks they know, there is a good chance they will send the money immediately.
The request will likely come from social media or email – although it can show up as SMS – and ask you to pay through Zelle.
According to the latest Federal Trade Commission (FTC) data, impersonation scams were the top reported scams in 2022, with more than 700,000 reports.
Cybersecurity company Kaspersky revealed the types of phone calls you might get during an imposter scam.
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You may get a call that says, "Hello, this is your company’s technical support service. We’ve detected strange activity on your work computer. You need to come to the office right away so we can figure out what it is."
Portraying a sense of urgency is key for scammers because this prevents people from thinking twice or questioning the request.
You may also get a call that purports to be your internet company saying its detected malware on your devices – this will always be a scam.
HOW TO STAY SAFE
There are several steps you can take to mitigate your risk of falling victim to an imposter scam.
First and foremost, be wary of Caller ID. Scammers are good at tricking Caller ID systems – this is known as "spoofing."
Just because your Caller ID reads 'IRS' or 'police,' that doesn't mean that the person on the other end is with that organization.
You will also want to immediately hang up the phone if you receive a call from someone frantically requesting money.
This is often a tactic utilized by scammers to give victims less time to think rationally.
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