10 most common scams: Mobile fraud

How to avoid being taken in by fraudsters

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Mobile fraud: How to avoid it

Stay one step ahead of the fraudsters with our series of articles giving you the lowdown on the scams they use to trick people out of their hard-earned cash - and how to avoid being taken in by them.

This week, mobile phone fraud, which comes in a variety of forms.


How does it work?
Mobile phone fraud can involve persuading you to buy pointless or non-existent phone-related products, tricking you into texting or calling premium rate numbers and duping you into signing up to expensive subscription services without you even realising it.

Common scams include texts and missed calls from numbers that redirect you to a premium rate line costing up to £15 a call, messages claiming that you should call a (premium rate) number to claim a prize you have "won" and offers of "free" ring tones that are actually part of a subscription service with which you pay through the nose every time you are sent a new ring tone.

Some fraudsters also pose as mobile phone insurance salesmen, while others use stolen mobiles to access victims' personal details and defraud them that way.

How can I avoid being caught out?
Steps you can take to reduce the chances of being caught out by mobile phone fraud include setting up a password or code to prevent fraudsters using your phone if it is stolen, ignoring texts and calls from unknown numbers and closing down any suspicious looking websites you are redirected to immediately.

It is also sensible to complete a factory reset to clear all your personal information if you sell or give away a phone or tablet and to be extra vigilant when you have an upgrade or contract renewal looming as this is a key time for fraudsters to target you with fake deals.

Scam prevention service Action Fraud advises checking whether your handset will allow you to remotely lock and track it if lost or stolen, and to consider downloading an application that will do this if not.

I've been defrauded. What should I do?
The first thing you should do if your mobile phone or tablet is stolen is to contact your mobile phone provider to prevent any calls being made and inform the police.

But if you are targeted with a premium rate phone line fraud, you should get in touch with premium rate number regulator PhonepayPlus.

To escape expensive subscription services, meanwhile, text the word STOP to the provider and contact PhonepayPlus if it breaks the law by continuing to send you messages.

Other common scams
1. Phishing
2. Car fraud
3. Ticket fraud
4. Boiler rooms
5. Auction websites
6. Money transfers
7. Vishing
8. Recruitment fraud

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