We’re living in times where every time your phone rings, there is a high chance that someone is looking to mislead you. You could fall into a fraudulent financial transaction and lose your valuable phone data.
Or someone could be attempting to hack into your computer or smartphone. That’s the state of phone scams. Having to protect your employees’ phones and your business phone is not really an exciting prospect.
But consider how rampant cybercrime is and especially how much it is targeted at mobile phones. Because smartphones have become the norm, guarding against cybercrime is a necessity. Here is a guide for how businessmen can secure their phones and keep scammers at bay.
Use a Virtual Number
The best way to save your phone from falling prey to cyber attacks is to share your contact number only with the people you trust.
This practice, however, is easier said than done for a businessman. An alternative worth considering is to use a virtual phone number. Google Voice, for instance, offers you a free virtual phone number that you can use to manage voice communications for non-personal matters.
A virtual number can receive text messages and voice calls. So you can easily set up your virtual number to forward business calls and messages to your permanent phone number.
By keeping your phone number inaccessible and unknown in the telemarketing scam and spam domain, you considerably reduce the threat of exposure.
How to Identify Potential Phone Scams?
When it comes to phone scams and hacking attempts, prevention is infinitely better than a cure! To make sure your business phones don’t end up being hacked, here are the telltale signs of detecting potential phone scams. Pay attention to phone calls that:
- Request your personal details, such as your social security number
- Use automated voice messages asking you to call back
- Tell you that you’ve won a lottery for which you never purchased a ticket (it’s ridiculous, but these scams still exist)
- Tell you to pay off a debt or IRS fine immediately
- Ask you to share your computer’s remote access with a person posing as a computer technician
- Request a PIN confirmation (unless you’ve specifically initiated a service request)
- Ask you to visit a specific website
Reporting Phone Scams
Businesses across the globe, voice carrier services included, recognize the need to quickly neutralize phone scam attempts. Most are willing to immediately help customers impacted by this kind of fraud.
So be on the lookout for potential phone scams, unsolicited and suspicious telemarketing calls, and fishy text messages.
Make it a point to report questionable communications to the voice carrier service, as well as to your regional and national cybersecurity and scam prevention agencies. Some red flags to watch out for are:
- Frequent and often permanent disconnection of network connectivity on your phone
- Odd entries in your monthly phone bill statements
- Two-factor authentication triggers when you don’t remember initiating them
- Calls from people pretending to be from your voice carrier service provider and asking for personal details
Standard Practices for Securing Your Business Phone
- The FCC Consumer Help guide is a good read for every businessman looking to stay secure from phone scams.
- Register your phone number in the DoNotCall.gov database, and ask your employees to do the same.
- Encourage your employees, particularly your customer care people, to conduct quick online checks for phone numbers that seem to be suspicious (based on how the conversation progresses). CheckUp.Tel is a useful online real-time phone checking directory for America and Canada.
- Don’t ever reply to any SMS that requires you to forward a specific text command to a number. The exception would if you’re specifically expecting such a text.
- Does your business embrace the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) concept? If so, make sure your IT team installs basic anti-virus and anti-malware software on employees’ smartphones.
- If you get a one-ring (or slightly longer) call from an odd looking number, don’t call back.
Consider Your Contact Number a Valuable Social Asset
Why dilute the importance of your contact number by putting it out in the public domain? For business communications, get a virtual phone number. Or get a dedicated phone line that can then divert the genuine queries to the right people.
Just like your social security number, scammers use your phone number to conduct more specific searches on you. They also use it to launch advanced social engineering-based phishing attacks on you.
Here’s another useful tip. Every now and then, do a Google search for your phone number. That way you can see if it’s part of a public database, and hence exposed.
Final Thoughts on Protecting Your Phone Data
Just like everything else, the responsibility of your business phone falls on your shoulders. Use the tips and suggestions shared in this guide to keep your employees’ phones, as well as your phone, safe from the clutches of phone scammers.
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