The art of dodging phone call scams and attacks

Not all cyber criminals are evil geniuses. Many cyber attacks happen with an old-fashioned phone call, mainly because there are fewer security regulations and it’s easier to convey emotion to trick people.

The latest newsletter from SANS offers examples on the nature of phone call scams and attacks: https://www.sans.org/sites/default/files/2018-07/201807-OUCH-July-English_0.pdf

Here are the most common clues a phone scam is happening:

  • The caller identifies as a government tax department or tax collection service to squeeze your credit card information out of you.

  • They pretend to be Microsoft Tech Support with software to fix your “computer virus” requesting access to your computer.

  • An automated message is left that prompts you to call about a cancelled bank account, and then records personal information when you call back.

Keep these tricks in mind when you think you’re dealing with a phone call scam:

  • Be suspicious of anyone with a tremendous sense of urgency that pressures you to do something (like give credit card information, or grant access to your computer).

  • Hang up. If you want to verify the call is real, call the customer support number to the organization they claim they are calling from.

  • Never let anyone into your computer or download software.

  • Let the call go to voicemail. Turn on your phone’s “Do Not Disturb” setting for unknown callers.

As always, abort and report any suspicious activity immediately and check back next month for more cybersecurity tips!