Mobile phone fraud involves a variety of scams that either persuade you to buy phone-related products/services that turn out to be substandard or non-existent; or to make phone calls or texts to premium services by accident; or to unknowingly sign up to expensive subscription services.
There are a variety of frauds that target you on your mobile. Here are some of the most common:
Missed call scams
Your phone registers a missed call. You don’t recognise the number so you call it back. Most of the time the call will be perfectly above board, but you may be redirected to a premium rate service which can cost up to £15 per call.
Recorded message scams
The number you’re asked to call back may be a recorded message telling you that you’ve won a prize, and giving you another number to call to ‘claim’ it. But this second number may be a premium rate one. Also, your prize may be nothing more than a ring tone subscription - which can also be a fraud.
Text message scams
You’re sent a text from a number you don’t recognise, but it’ll be worded as if it’s from a friend. For instance: ‘Hi, it’s John. I’m back! When do you want to catch up?’ So you call it back, thinking you’re doing them a favour by telling them they’ve got the wrong person, only to be charged a fortune for a premium rate call. Or you may text back and end up engaging in a lengthy SMS exchange. You find out that you’ve been charged a high rate for your texts (and sometimes for your received texts as well).
Ring tone scams
These scams might attract you with an offer of a ‘free’ or low cost ring tone. By accepting the offer, you’re actually subscribing to a service that will keep sending you ring tones – and charging you a premium rate for them. There are many legitimate companies selling ring tones, but there are also fraudsters who will try to hide the true cost of taking up their offer.
Phone insurance scams
If you’ve bought a new mobile phone, a fraudster may call you to sell you phone insurance, making out that they are calling from the shop where you bought it from, or from your mobile phone network. At best, you end up with poor quality phone insurance or, at worst, none at all.
Personal Information and your mobile phone
Mobiles phones and smart devices like iPads are now capable of holding a lot of your personal information such as access to your emails and mobile banking apps, it’s more important than ever to know how to keep data on your mobile phone or device secure.
What should you do if you’ve been a victim of mobile phone fraud?
Protect yourself and your mobile or smart device from fraud
If fraud has been committed, report it to Action Fraud.