How to identify and avoid phishing phone scams

Nobody wants to be the victim of a fraud, but unfortunately, telephone scams are on the rise with thousands of Irish consumers targeted. Scam artists continue to develop more sophisticated and elaborate methods and it’s important that phone users are aware of the latest scams and able to identify tell-tale signs of fraud.

Phishing calls

Phishing is an attempt made by cybercriminals to obtain personal information online or over the phone and is one of the most common forms of fraud. Phishing can come in many forms and guises, including emails, phone calls or text-based messages. Typically, a phishing scam call involves receiving a call from someone purporting to be a representative of your subscription service, bank or utility provider, who will attempt to obtain sensitive personal or financial data from you. This information may include your account username, password, credit card details or bank details, which can then be used to access your account or to withdraw money without your permission. A popular scam currently in circulation involves a call from an automated voice claiming to be from a telecoms provider, which informs phone users that their account or internet connection has been compromised. The message then urges users to dial ‘one’ to be transferred to an operator who can secure the account. This “operator” will then attempt to extract a payment from the phone user.

How to avoid being scammed

It can be very difficult to distinguish a scam from a genuine call. There are however a number of signs to take note of and guidelines to follow when in doubt.

  • Be cautious of giving out any personal information over the phone. Reputable service providers will already have most of your details on file and should never ask for your password over the phone. Scammers may use threats of scary outcomes or emphasise the need for urgent action to convince you to divulge information. Do not act in haste and always remember you can call the company back.
  • If in doubt, hang up and call the company back on the number displayed on its website. Scammers can use Voice over IP (VoIP) technology to mask the origin of the call and make it seem as if it is the company’s actual number. It isn’t rude to hang up if you feel uncomfortable giving out information and you can always verify the call by ringing the company back through its official number displayed on its website.
  • Report suspicious calls. If you have suspicions over a call or are worried about having given away information, call your service provider to report the call. Customer representatives may be able to identify a scam by your description and it is important to raise awareness of new methods of fraud.

The steps above should help you to avoid becoming the victim of phone scams. Nevertheless, fraud continues to affect thousands of consumers. If you are a Pure Telecom customer and are worried you may have been the victim of a scam or would like further information about this topic, contact one of our customer service representatives on 1800 844 023.