Safe smartphones: scams to watch out for

Whether you are new to smartphones or have been using them for a number of years, it can always be a good idea to refresh yourself on how to stay safe. Much like using a traditional landline, or even email communications, smartphones can also come with risks and dangers. One of the main sources can be scams. These may involve direct contact with the scammer, or even be the result of your actions when using the phone. Educating yourself could help to prevent you from becoming a victim.

Look up unknown callers

Some people dislike getting calls in general, no matter who it is. However, when the number on your caller display is not one you recognise, this could make you feel both curious and anxious. Using specific websites to look up a number with the 0161 area code, if you don’t live in that region, could be a good idea. You may find that other people have reported it to be a marketing call from a genuine company, or even a scam call from an individual pretending to be affiliated with a real brand. Being cautious about answering these can be a good idea. You might also want to look for a number listed on the genuine company’s website to call back and find out if they did really call you. This could help to prevent you from giving out information to someone who may use it to take your money, or even identity.

Be cautious when messaging

It isn’t just calls that scammers use. They may also try to trick you using messaging services. Both traditional SMS and even WhatsApp have been known to be used by scam artists. They may message pretending to be someone you know to ask for money. Checking with that individual, using the existing number you have for them, can be a good idea. Alternatively, you may want to speak to someone they know and, as with calls, do your research on the number that just messaged you. Other types of messages, such as those claiming to be from the Post Office, HMRC, and even a relative you’ve never heard of, can also be rather common. Reporting those numbers as spam, and then blocking them, is better than responding.

Only download from your app store

Many of the apps used on a smartphone may come from the genuine app store associated with that brand. While Apple products tend to restrict what can be installed on their devices, Android users may have more freedom. In some respects, this can be a good thing. However, this also means that users could install APK files that aren’t found on the app store onto their Android device. Some of these may be genuine, but others could contain malware, viruses, and even keyloggers. These may then be used to gain control of your device, and even your passwords for different accounts.

Being cautious when using your smartphone can be important. Assuring yourself of each communication or installation could help to keep you safe from those who use these products dishonestly.

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