Call Me… Maybe? – How to Avoid Being a Phone Fraud Victim

Posted by Stephanie Mau

on September 5, 2014

Call Me… Maybe?

stock photo mobile phone money coming out of screenHave you ever gotten a call from a sketchy number and wondered if it was a scam?

Well, turns out, you’re right to be worried.

According to a recent survey conducted by The Harris Poll, about 17.6 million Americans lost an estimated $.86 billion as a result of phone fraud – and that was just in the last year. That averages out to a loss of $489 per person (yikes!) – and what’s even scarier is that the actual numbers may be way higher.

Due to factors such as unreported fraud and phone bills that have gone unchecked, the actual amount of money lost may be much more than the original estimate.

So How Were Fraudsters Ringing People Up?

49% of those who gave money to a phone scammer reported that they received the call on their cellphone, while 36% said that they received the call on a landline/at home. Out of those who had smartphones, the majority stated that they just ignored all calls from unknown numbers, nearly one-third said that they would google sketchy numbers that called them before returning a call, and a mere 20% said that they did nothing to protect themselves from phone fraud.

Interestingly, men were far more likely to lose money from phone fraud – 71% of the victims were male, and only 29% were female.

But what’s most striking is the amount of people who don’t check their phone bills. In the survey, 54% of participants stated that they never/rarely checked their phone bills – but of those who did check, 37% found fraudulent charges.

This goes to show that such fraud can be easily preventable if we just take the steps to double-check our expenses and protect ourselves from future wrongdoing.

So What Can You Do?

First, be on the look-out.

When you pick up the phone, don’t always assume you can trust the person on the other line. Now, this isn’t to say you should start hanging up on all your friends – just be wary when you get a call about something as important as your bank or credit card.

One easy way to make sure you aren’t giving away your information to a fraudster is by hanging up on these calls and calling them back using a number that you know to be reliable – instead of just trusting the number they give you.

While Caller ID can be very useful in screening your calls, the ugly truth is that it can’t always be trusted. Sometimes, scam artists can ‘spoof’ your caller ID display – essentially making your caller ID display whatever they want it to display. So don’t trust whatever it says on your phone screen – just pay attention to the words they’re saying.

Sounds easy? It’s because it is. And it can be just as easy to prevent fraud from occurring in your workplace too. Just have a read through our fraud prevention checklist and see!

Now that that’s done, incorporating a strong compliance system with an ethics reporting system can be your first big step towards empowering your employees to speak up against potential wrongdoing.

An independent ethics reporting system like Whistleblower Security can help promote a culture of integrity, collaboration and transparency in your workplace. With a 24/7/365 whistleblower hotline and whistleblower program, employees can be assured that all of their ethical concerns will be heard and addressed.

Fraud Checklist

Source: http://www.today.com/money/americans-lost-8-6-billion-phone-fraud-last-year-survey-1D80108259