Beware of the Latest Phone Scams

January 6, 2020
Cyber Alert

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Risk Management Question

Fraudsters seeking to take your money or personal information use a variety of phone scams, including SMSishing (text-based phishing). How can you and your employees protect against phone scams?

The Issue

Phone scams manifest in a variety of ways, but one constant is scammers trying to get money or personal information from you. SMSishing has become a very popular tool for scammers, but it is only one of a number of strategies available to them.Mobile phone with scam message

Often, fraudsters pretend to be a member of law enforcement or a federal agency such as the IRS. They claim that you will face harsh consequences for not paying taxes or some other form of debt, and they may ask you to provide personal information. Their goal is to scare you into complying with their demands.

Another scam involves claiming that the target individual has been selected to receive a special offer. The offer will seem like a great deal, but the target will be told that it is only available with immediate payment. These scams rely on the time-sensitive nature of the "deal" in order to coerce victims into falling for the scam.

Others scammers may claim that you have won a prize, but in order to collect it, you have to pay a small administrative fee, or pay for the "shipping" to receive your prize. Of course, after the money has been transferred, the scammer will not respond to any further contact.

Risk Management Solutions

Here are some things to keep in mind if you receive a suspicious phone call or text message:

One relatively easy security measure is to register your phone on the National Do Not Call Registry. While this will not stop all spam calls, it should reduce them. More information and registration information can be found at

Happy New Year from Hinshaw! And remember, always think before you click.