CISO Perspective: Tips for Avoiding Phone Scams
keeping-my-information-safe | Read Time: 3 minutes
By Robert Eastwood | Published: September 2022
Phone scams are nothing new. However, fraudsters and hackers are always looking for new ways to trick you into giving them your money or personal information. These scammers are financially driven to make free money.
The Federal Trade Commission provides a great set of tips that can help you avoid falling victim to a phone fraud. Among the common red flags:
- Scammers will pretend to be from a company or government agency you know. It could be from Amazon, the Social Security Office, IRS, a utility company, or a charity just to name a few. They will even use technology to change their number and caller ID to make the call look legit.
- Scammers might even say you are in trouble with the government or you owe money. Other common tactics include claiming a loved one had an emergency or is in trouble, that your computer or device may have a virus, that your account has a problem and they need to verify your information to resolve the issue, or that you’ve won a prize but first need to pay a fee to receive your winnings.
- Another common tactic is to pressure you to act immediately! This is an attempt to make you act before thinking through what the scammer is asking. They will oftentimes tell you to stay on the phone, so you do not have a chance to check out the legitimacy of the caller, and may go as far as to threaten you with claims you will be arrested, deported, have your business license revoked, or tell you that your computer/device will be corrupted.
- Lastly, they will ask you to make a payment in a specific way, commonly asking for payment through a money transfer company or by purchasing gift cards and providing them with the gift card details. Scammers may even send you a check to deposit and then ask you to send them the money, only to find out later that the original check was fraudulent.
If you receive a call, and any of the above or similar red flags apply, simply hang up. Do not engage in conversation with the caller and do not provide any personal information. You can report the call to the FCC and the FTC. Below are links to those resources:
That’s a CISO Perspective.
About the Author – Robert Eastwood
Robert Eastwood is Senior Vice President, Chief Information Security Officer at WSFS Bank. He has more than 24 years of experience in the information security field, including nearly 20 years at WSFS, most recently as Vice President, Information Security Officer, where he developed and executed a multi-year strategic plan for Information Security. He also holds a number of professional certifications and memberships in the Information Services, IT and financial services fields.
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