How to protect yourself from phone scammers during the pandemic?

The pandemic changes our lives completely. One of the few good changes was that the robotic calls stopped for a while – but sadly, they came back with what seems to be a double force.

What caused the stop of calls?

People around the world receive a couple of bilions of robotic calls every month. However, at the beginning of this year, the number dropped suddenly by almost 40%. The reason was really simple.

Even though the phone call starts with a robot – when you pick up, in a minute you are redirected to a human being. In other words: empty call centers (which was caused by lockdowns during the first wave of coronavirus pandemic) were the reason for a short stop in the calls.

However, the companies adjusted quickly and made some organizational changes, which helped their employees move to home offices. In the following months, the situation pretty much came back to normality. What is more – not only the number of phone calls came back to normality, but also – the quantity of bugging text messages and e-mails seems to be higher than ever.

Change of strategy

While before the pandemic, many of the calls based on other types of situations (i.e. asking you to go and buy gift cards), now – they moved to another activities. Many people stopped leaving the houses unless necessary and started shopping online. Thus – the scammers have rethought their strategies.

Then, a series of scams pretending to be existing companies (i.e. couriers) or even government agencies. Perhaps you’ve heard about the message “You will receive the pickup code after downloading our new app”. Only a really perceptive person will notice, that “O” was changed to “0”. As a result – scammers will have access to many sensitive informations from the device, on which you’ve opened the message.

People are adjusting and so are the scammers. The increasing digitization of many processes doesn’t help, especially to those, who are not fluent in internet matters. Text message from office or courier company seems to be legitimate and because of that – many people fall for the scam. What can we do to protect ourselves?

Be careful

When talking with someone on the phone, always try to catch their name and company, on behalf of which they are calling. If you have enough time before answering or you missed the call and wonder whether you should call back or not – try a free reverse phone lookup page. If you answered and you think something is not right – type down all the information you received (such as company name, caller’s name), tell your interlocutor you have to hang up for a minute and call the company’s hotline. If they will confirm everything your caller said, it’s alright. If not – inform them about the scam.

Check out the details

If you received a phone call you find suspicious, you can also browse the company name plus “scam” or “review” and such. When the scam is reported, institutions usually inform about it.

Also, keep in mind, that the reverse phone lookup pages can give you details about the caller. Usually, the scammers are getting reported quickly on pages such as free reverse phone lookup and with a few clicks you can find out whether the phone was real.

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