As mobile phone technology continues to evolve at breakneck speed, so do the efforts of cybercriminals intent on compromising mobile phone networks and scamming mobile phone users. Mobile phone fraud can have a significant impact on victims that can cost anywhere in the range of a small sum of money to their entire life savings.
Mobile phone fraud, also known as cellular fraud, is defined as the tampering, unauthorised use and manipulation of a cellular service or phone. The two most common types of fraud are subscriber fraud and mobile phone cloning. Both are illegal under the Wireless Telephone Protection Act.
How is Mobile Fraud Impacting the Industry?
Millions of dollars are lost each year due to mobile phone fraud. No matter how Americans attempt to protect their privacy, it seems almost impossible to keep up with new security attacks and threats. Our mobile phones offer the perfect window to our personal information. In fact, you could say that your mobile phone number is now as valuable to fraudsters as your social security number.
What is Subscriber Fraud?
One of the most common ways that fraudsters manipulate mobile phone users is by persuading them to part with their personal information. This is most commonly done through scare-tactics like: an unusual text from your bank provider claiming suspicious activity in your bank account, fake car insurance callers and fake email scams. Once they have the information they need, they can use it to set up a mobile phone account in your name, obtain credit in your name or sell your details to another third-party. Resolving fraud of this nature can be a long and arduous process for the victim, who often has to prove it was not them that ran up the huge international phone bill or credit card debt.
The good news is that there are a number of ways you can avoid being a victim of subscriber fraud. They include:
Only giving your personal details to people you trust, and only entering those details on websites that holds an SSL certificate. This will ensure your information is sent over an encrypted connection.
If you discard personal letters and documents, make sure you shred them first. Dumpster diving is a common tactic used by fraudsters to get hold of your information, and they hold no shame about it.
What is Cell Phone Cloning Fraud
This method of mobile fraud is a little more sophisticated than scamming somebody out of their personal information, but the consequences can be just as damaging. Every mobile phone leaves the factory with its own unique telephone number and electronic serial number.
When a fraudster clones a phone, they reprogram the device with your electronic serial number and your phone number. Once the programming process is complete, the fraudster can use the phone anyway they please, safe in the knowledge that you will get the bill for the calls they make and the data they use. If you believe that you have been a victim of cloning, get in touch with your service provider immediately!
There are a number of ways you can prevent your cell phone from being cloned. While many of these may seem like common sense, complacency can mean we often forget to be vigilant.
Secure your phone with a biometric lock or PIN (preferably your finger print or facial recognition ID).
Keep your phone with you at all times.
Turn off WiFi and Bluetooth when you are not using them.
Don’t use unauthorised apps.
Clear your cookies, browsing data and cache regularly.
Use a high quality security app to protect your phone (like two-factor authentications).
The good news is that mobile phone cloning is not as prevalent as it was a few years ago, but it makes sense to be vigilant. While you may not be able to prevent it completely, these precautions will significantly reduce the chances.
As mobile phone technology becomes more advanced and requires us to share more data to access more features, it is only natural that this will attract the attention of fraudsters intent on stealing data, money and identities. The good news is that vigilance, security software and staying up to date with the latest vulnerabilities will help you to avoid being the next mobile fraud victim. If you have an app idea which you believe could offer users safe and secure services, Talk To Us today!