MoneyConsumerDont Waste Your Money


New technology says it will stop phone and text message scams

Cell carriers now offer customers new protection
Posted at 4:00 AM, Jun 17, 2022

No matter how many numbers are blocked, it feels as if there's no end to spam calls and text messages.

Hannah Brockwell said she can't even enjoy lunch with her husband without getting a suspicious phone call or text on her phone.

At times, the caller could even be trying to scam people, like the ones with claims a bank account is locked up for suspected fraud.

"It prompts you to click on a link," she said. "And then it will take you to this very 'urgent' matter."

Brockwell said she's also experienced a package delivery scam regarding some order that she never placed.

"Oh, this package is on its way from UPS," she said. "And it wants me to click on the link to track it."

But, in every case, it is a scam. These calls are more than just a minor inconvenience. For instance, if someone clicks on the link in a text claiming there's a problem with a bank account, a scammer can drain the account in minutes.

Unfortunately, the phone technology currently used was designed at a time when there were little to no concerns about these kind of scams. Cybersecurity consultant Dave Hatter said "spoof" calls like these are especially dangerous.

"You look down, it looks like a local number. It might look like it's from your bank or IRS. It could be anything because, unfortunately, this is really easy to do," Hatter said.

There is some good news though: Cell phone carriers are taking steps to warn consumers that an incoming call is likely a scam.

"To me, that's just an extremely invaluable service because it's so easy to spoof these sites," Hatter said.

New technology to protect from scams

So what else is being done to protect consumers? Just last month, the FCC announced a crackdown on overseas robocalls. Plus, all major carriers — including Verizon, AT&T and TMobile — now offer some sort of scam call blocking app, although not all services are free, and many will label suspicious calls as "scam likely."

No matter what technology offered from a provider, Hatter said:

  • Don't answer calls from unknown numbers.
  • Never give out personal information such as bank account numbers, even if it appears to be the bank calling.
  • If someone says they represent a bank or a government agency, hang up and verify the number. Call the bank at the number found on their website, not the number that called the cell phone.

Hannah Brockwell just wants it to end.

"It's really confusing and irritating, and I wonder how they got my number," she said.

So check with cell providers to see what tools they offer, and that way, you don't waste your money by getting scammed.


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