Cell Phone Scams

By: John Lester
Published: Aug 11, 2021

Cell Phone Scams - There’s a new breed of scams out there and it has to do with cell phones. Most people have a mobile device and this clever technology has opened up more of the airwaves to crooks. We identify 5 of the most common mistakes to avoid.

Subscriber fraud is simply an offshoot of identity theft. It is far and away the biggest scam, costing the cell phone industry an estimated $150m a year and causing untold anguish to the victims. Someone steals your personal details and opens an account in your name, racking up huge bills.

An estimated three million cell phones are stolen or lost in the US every year. In the wrong hands they can be used to make unauthorized calls — one recent victim faced a $26,000 bill. In addition, they can be minded for any personal and contact details to steal your identity.

Crooks use scanners to read your cell phone identity, also known as cloning, including the number and its unique serial number. Then they program another phone with the same details and make calls at your expense. However, this is one area where the crime fighters have made progress, with new technology that makes it more difficult to scan for the number.

Ringtone scams are everywhere. Apart from driving nearby people crazy with their awful sounds, users of downloaded ringtones could be exposing themselves to a couple of potentially costly cell phone scams.

Some tones — usually free ones or those exchanged via peer-to-peer software — have been hacked by thieves who can install a virus that either damages the phone or steals confidential information.

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